Press Release on Mongol from Severtsov Institute

Visiting the Severtsev Institute’s website just now and we came across this status report on Mongol, dated 3/18/2011.

Further browsing shows that on March 15, 2011 Severtsev Institute signed a 4-way research/monitoring agreement with Sayano-Shushensky, Khakassky, and Ubsunurskaya Kotlovina Zapovedniks. Research/study methods are described as “capture and fitting with satellite collars, photographic identification, non-invasive DNA identification, and hormone and zoological/veterinary techniques using specially-trained dogs”. Very brief info here.

Capturing a Snow Leopard
18 March 2011

An adult male snow leopard was captured on March 13, 2011 at Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik in the Kalbak-Mes region as part of the program “Research and monitoring study of snow leopards in Southern Siberia” being conducted under the aegis of the Russian Geographic Society in accordance with a RosPrirodNadzor [Russian Environmental Oversight Agency] directive (#7), issued on 4 March 2011.

This animal (known as “Mongol”, over 10 years old) is one of two adult male snow leopards currently located within the zapovednik (winter/spring 2011), where he is considered a “resident male.” Earlier, zapovednik staff had captured images of him with his neck tangled in a poacher’s snare using camera traps. Since then, Mongol has often been photographed without the snare, obviously having managed to free himself. At the time of his capture, the trap was equipped with a sensor that would indicate the trap had been activated.

The animal was in the trap for approximately two hours from the moment of capture. The captured animal had scarring from a poacher’s snare on his neck and inflamed wounds on his face (above the left eye and on the cheekbone) and on his shoulders. The animal’s trauma and wounds were easily visible in photographs taken earlier with camera traps on February 27, 2011. The wounds were likely incurred by Mongol as a result of fighting with other snow leopards during mating season and subsequently became inflamed.

Following immobilization, examination, and treatment of the wounds, it was decided to temporarily move the animal to a cage (“zhivolovushka”) for additional treatment. On March 15, the animal was transported to the expedition’s base camp at Bolshoy On, where he was placed in a 4×4 meter enclosure containing a wooden shelter. Immediately after his capture, the wounds were treated with a healing salve and he was injected with 10% Baytril. The injections continued at the expedition base camp – the injections were given in order to lower the possibility of infectious processes, primarily bacterial or mycoplasmal in origin. Baytril injections were accomplished using a blow pipe.

On March 18th, the animal was again immobilized for wound cleaning and another Baytril injection. The animal’s condition was satisfactory and did not elicit cause for concern. Mongol was equipped with a satellite collar. Upon the animal’s recovery (elimination of the immobilizing agents from his body), the animal will soon be returned to Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik and released at the capture site.

Translation by Jennifer Castner