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Research article, 2010

Preliminary results of a longterm study of snow leopards in South Gobi, Mongolia

McCarthy, Tom; Murray, Kim; Sharma, Koustubh; Johansson, Örjan


Snow leopards Panthera uncia are under threat across their range and require urgent conservation actions based on sound science. However, their remote habitat and cryptic nature make them inherently difficult to study and past attempts have provided insufficient information upon which to base effective conservation. Further, there has been no statistically-reliable and cost-effective method available to monitor snow leopard populations, focus conservation effort on key populations, or assess conservation impacts. To address these multiple information needs, Panthera, Snow Leopard Trust, and Snow Leopard Conservation Fund, launched an ambitious long-term study in Mongolia’s South Gobi province in 2008. To date, 10 snow leo-pards have been fitted with GPS-satellite collars to provide information on basic snow leopard ecology. Using 2,443 locations we calculated MCP home ranges of 150 – 938 km2, with substantial overlap between individuals. Exploratory movements outside typical snow leopard habitat have been observed. Trials of camera trapping, fecal genetics, and occupancy modeling, have been completed. Each method ex-hibits promise, and limitations, as potential monitoring tools for this elusive species.

Published in

Cat News
2010, number: 53, pages: 15-19

Authors' information

McCarthy, Tom
Murray, Kim
Snow Leopard Trust
Sharma, Koustubh
Snow Leopard Trust
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

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