Update on Mongol the Snow Leopard
TAP’s sources in the region are telling us that Mongol was transported to Khakassky Biosphere Reserve for a particular reason. The sources predict that Putin, in his continuing quest for ever greater media exposure, will place the radiocollar on the snow leopard himself. After that, it is expected that Mongol will be released on/about March 20, hopefully having been transported back to his homeland in Sayano-Shushesnsky Reserve.
Ordinarily, radiocollaring takes place at the capture site and IMMEDIATELY after an animal’s capture. The animal is released just 1-2 hours later. This requires only a single inherently risky sedation, but no upset to the animal’s environment otherwise.
In the case of Mongol, he was trapped in a snare, sedated, transported (possibly under sedation) by helicopter, and is now caged. He will be sedated again for collaring, and then transported (again perhaps sedated) and then released. He could injure himself or even break a canine tooth while caged.
During his absence, taking place during mating season, other male snow leopards in the area may take the artificially provided opportunity to mate with females. In the past in other big cat species, this has been known to result in a dominant male killing offspring as a result in the future.