Happy #InternationalSnowLeopardDay! Join us in celebrating one of the world‘s most elusive and endangered #cats today!
We usually think of snow leopard habitats as vast, endless mountain ranges, like the Himalayas. But in Mongolia’s South Gobi, the cats’ primary habitat is very different: they inhabit relatively small mountainous ‘islands’ in a desert ‘sea’. Given the distances between these ‘islands’ in the South Gobi we long thought the Gobi’s snow leopards were confined to the mountain ranges of their birth – until a cat we were tracking with a GPS collar proved us wrong.
Meet Aylagch (meaning traveller in mongolian) from the South Gobi. When Aylagch dispersed from his mother, he left the Tost Mountains, where he’d been born, and set out on a 40km journey across the barren, dry steppe to find a new home in the Nemegt mountains, an independent range to the north of Tost. He presumably used the cover of darkness, and the limited broken terrain offered by ravines that break the monotony of the desert.
“These findings illustrate how mysterious the snow leopard still is to us”, Charu Mishra, Snow Leopard Trust’s Executive Director. “With every study, we’re learning something new about this cat. We now know, for instance, that the steppe region between Tost and Nemegt must be protected, not just for the gazelles, wolves and the unique plant formations inhabiting the steppe habitat, but also for snow leopards themselves. Each new piece of information helps us plan better to protect snow leopards from the threats they face.”
#snowleopardday #happysnowleopardday #conservation #snowleopards #wildlife #conservation