By B.Munkhtsog, Irbis Mongolia/Mongolian Academy of Science
It seems like only a few days ago that we invited Dr. Rodney Jackson of Snow Leopard Conservancy to conduct the first snow leopard field survey methodology training in Mongolia and to learn about snow leopards at field sites in Great Gobi Strictly Protected Areas. It seems like only a few days ago that, for the first time in Mongolia, one of our snow leopards was fitted with a satellite radio collar, which Rodney brought for us.
But in reality, this all happened 20 years ago. Today, our fruitful partnership still continues and we recently had another great event that coincided with the twenty-year anniversary of our work with Rodney. On October 30, 2014 our Mongolian-Russian team collared a young female snow leopard near the border of Mongolia and Russia.
The young female is approximately three years old and was given the name Tsagaan, which means white in English. In Mongolian, it translates more to kind, great, open heart, and a good future like white pure milk.
It took four days to capture Tsagaan, using equipment donated by Snow Leopard Conservancy. While she was sedated, the team monitored her body condition, took body measurements, blood and hair samples, checked for parasites, and put the North Star satellite collar provided by Snow Leopard Conservancy through funds raised by artist and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde.
Tsagaan recovered well after the capture and immediately climbed up the nearest cliff. For two days she occupied the same valley, then headed west, walking for ten days to a valley where local argali sheep populations gather during mating season. From previous studie. we know that snow leopard travel mostly in dark and dusk, but Tsagaan was travelling a lot in the daytime. We assume that after twenty years of protection in the park, Tsagaan and other wild animals like her have adapted to a secure and quiet life.
Biosphere Monitoring site and World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Dry stream beds Khoid sair (Northern dry stream bed) and Omno sair (Southern dry stream bed) are known to hold one of the most dense snow leopard populations in Mongolia. The Tsagaan Shuvuut mountain range is located on the border of Mongolia and Russia where there are many ongoing transboundary conservation activities and cooperation of Mongolia and Russian parks to protect endangered snow leopard and other biodiversity species and ecosystems.