The long term Mongolian snow leopard study by Panthera, Snow Leopard Trust and others finally has three cubs it can study in the wild. Researchers have been following 14 cats for the last few years but only in the last month did two of the females in the study have cubs. This is a huge breakthrough as never before have cubs been a part of a study like this is the wild.
Two of the female snow leopards in the study, Anu and Lasya had cubs the last month. Researchers were able to visit both birthing dens while mothers were out hunting. They found Lasya is the proud mum of two male cubs and Anu also has a male cub. Both mums have dens deep in the mountains but researchers were able to find them as their mothers are collared which allows for monitoring by VHF transmitters
The cubs were checked for gender, weight, health and then then PIT tagged, that is, micro chipped.
The study researchers said “All cubs had full stomachs and appeared to be in good condition. We monitored the females’ movements daily to be sure that they had returned to their dens following the den visits, and we continue to closely watch their activities.”
Cubs in the wild have never been studied but now through the work of this project snow leopard birth rates, sex ratios, and size of cubs will help in the full understanding of how snow leopards live in their mountain habitats. And the more understanding we have the better we are able to support conservation efforts so they continue to thrive in the wild.
Readers can help support this project by making donations to the Snow Leopard Trust or to Panthera.