One of the things snow leopard researchers get asked about all the time is the ethics of capturing and collaring snow leopards. Capture and collar is a research method used to study many animals in the wild but lay people often have doubts and questions about it.
Scientists would also prefer not to have to be this invasive in their study of wildlife but sometimes there are no alternatives to get information that will ultimately help towards saving an endangered species.
All reputable snow leopard research organisations like Snow Leopard Trust, Snow Leopard Conservancy and Panthera do rigorous testing of their capture and collaring methods to ensure each animal that is collared is treated safely.
Panthera recently put together this list of questions and answers on the effect of collaring on snow leopards.
They answer these questions.
What are the benefits of collaring wild snow leopards?
How do you know these collars even work? Do you test them before they go on wild snow leopards?
What happens when the snow leopards are collared?
Do the collars stay on for the cats’ whole lifetime?
How big is the GPS collar?
Do GPS collars compromise the snow leopard’s ability to hunt?
Do the GPS collars affect the cats’ ability to camouflage?
Do you use any other methods to gather data about these big cats?