In March, Panthera’s snow leopard scientists placed 20 camera traps throughout Mongolia’s rugged Tost Mountains in hopes of capturing new data that would inform Panthera’s snow leopard conservation initiatives. Today, we are excited to share a number of our ‘best of’ Spring camera trap photos.
Although the snow leopard has been given the nickname of ‘Asia’s Mountain Ghost,’ Panthera’s scientists captured many images of not-so-shy snow leopards demonstrating their characteristic cat curiosity by examining the camera traps with their eyes, noses, and tongues.
Panthera’s scientists were thrilled to discover dozens of photos showing approximately five new and unidentified wild snow leopards.
These camera trap images are invaluable, as they have provided Panthera’s scientists with new data about the size and distribution of snow leopard populations in the Tost Mountains, their proximity to and interactions with local human communities, snow leopard mother and cub interactions, including the amount of time devoted to rearing litters and mothers’ reproductive success, and much more information. In addition, these photos signify hope for the future of snow leopards, whose numbers are currently estimated to hover between 3,500-7,000 individual cats, at best.
In order to grow the world’s dwindling snow leopard populations, Panthera is working in partnership with the Snow Leopard Trust to carry out the Mongolia-based snow leopard research study, which today stands as the longest-running, comprehensive ecological study of the snow leopard. Panthera is also working throughout the snow leopard’s range in Asia to implement similar conservation initiatives involving buy-in from local communities and local and national governments and NGOs.
Click here to learn more about Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program.
A snow leopard mother, named Suhder, & her two cubs investigate a Panthera/Snow Leopard Trust camera trap in South Gobi, Mongolia. Our scientists estimate that the 2 cubs were at least born in the spring of 2010. Unlike the other videos, this was taken in the Summer of 2011. Suhder was originally collared in May 2009, but her collar slipped off after just a day. Panthera’s team hopes to re-collar Suhder in the near future.
An unidentified snow leopard mother and her two cubs traveling together at night stop to check out a Panthera/Snow Leopard Trust camera trap.
This beautiful, unidentified snow leopard was first photographed as a cub in the Summer of 2009, and is shown here fully grown.
A new, unidentified (and sleepy) snow leopard sits in front of a Panthera/Snow Leopard Trust camera trap…then comes in for a closer look.
Khashaa, a snow leopard monitored through the Panthera/Snow Leopard Trust project in Mongolia, passes by a camera trap with her two cubs. Khashaa’s collar recently dropped off as scheduled and Panthera’s scientists hope to re-collar her this Fall.