AboutZoos, Since 2008


Snow leop­ard suc­cess­fully col­lared in Nepal’s Himalayas

pub­lished 19 Decem­ber 2013 | mod­i­fied 09 July 2016

Nepal cre­ated new strides in snow leop­ard con­ser­va­tion with the his­toric col­lar­ing of a snow leop­ard using satel­lite GPS tech­nol­ogy in Kangchen­junga Con­ser­va­tion Area in the Sacred Himalayan Landscape.

Snowleopard collared released NepalThe snow leop­ard, an adult male approx­i­mately five years of age, weigh­ing 40kg and with a body length of 193cm was cap­tured, fit­ted with a GPS Plus Glob­al­star col­lar (Vec­tron­ics Aero­space Inc., Ger­many) and released back into the wild at 10:45am on 25th Novem­ber 2013.

The col­lar­ing expe­di­tion that lasted 45 days begin­ning 7th Novem­ber was led by the Gov­ern­ment of Nepal’s Depart­ment of National Parks and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion with the sup­port of WWF, Con­ser­va­tion and Adap­ta­tion in Asia’s High Moun­tain Land­scapes and Com­mu­ni­ties Project funded by USAID, National Trust for Nature Con­ser­va­tion, and Kangchen­junga Con­ser­va­tion Area Man­age­ment Council/​Snow Leop­ard Con­ser­va­tion Committee-​Ghunsa. WWF Nepal pro­vided both finan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port for the col­lar­ing expedition.

The snow leop­ard col­lar­ing is indeed a new win for Nepal
Mr. Megh Bahadur Pandey, Direc­tor Gen­eral of the Depart­ment of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation »

“It reit­er­ates the com­mit­ment of the gov­ern­ment to strengthen mea­sures to bet­ter under­stand and pro­tect the snow leop­ard whose sur­vival is under threat from anthro­pogenic actions and the per­va­sive impacts of global cli­mate change,” Mr. Megh Bahadur Pandey stated.

Snowleopard collared NepalThis is the first time that satellite-​GPS tech­nol­ogy is being used in snow leop­ard col­lar­ing in Nepal. Prior col­lar­ing work on the species used VHF tech­nol­ogy in the early 80s and 90s. The col­lar­ing expe­di­tion also marks the first time that local com­mu­ni­ties through cit­i­zen sci­en­tists and Snow Leop­ard Con­ser­va­tion Com­mit­tees have been involved and who played a key role in iden­ti­fy­ing snow leop­ard hotspots for track­ing pur­poses through ongo­ing cam­era trap mon­i­tor­ing oper­a­tions, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the col­lar­ing oper­a­tions, and man­ag­ing local logistics.

“Snow leop­ards are highly elu­sive crea­tures and given the ter­rains they reside in, mon­i­tor­ing work on the species is a highly chal­leng­ing task,” stated Dr. Naren­dra Man Babu Prad­han, Coor­di­na­tor for Devel­op­ment, Research and Mon­i­tor­ing at WWF Nepal. “While past stud­ies on the snow leop­ard have been lim­ited to areas that are acces­si­ble to peo­ple, this tech­nol­ogy will help pro­vide impor­tant infor­ma­tion on the ecol­ogy and behav­iour of the wide rang­ing snow leopard.”

Through data received from the satel­lite col­lar, it will be pos­si­ble to deter­mine their move­ment pat­terns, habi­tat use and pref­er­ences, home ranges to iden­tify crit­i­cal core habi­tats and cor­ri­dors between them, includ­ing trans-​boundary habi­tat link­ages and cli­mate resilient habitats.

“Nepal’s Himalayas are a rich mosaic of pris­tine habi­tat, fresh­wa­ter and wildlife species includ­ing the iconic snow leop­ard,” stated Mr. Anil Man­and­har, Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of WWF Nepal. “The suc­cess of the col­lar­ing expe­di­tion opens up new fron­tiers in snow leop­ard con­ser­va­tion as well as new avenues to pro­file Nepal as a liv­ing lab­o­ra­tory to help build on inter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion in con­ser­va­tion science.”

The Ghost of the Moun­tain — A Wild Snow Leop­ard on Cam­era
A wild snow leop­ard, caught on a Snow Leop­ard Trust /​NCF India research cam­era in Ladakh, North­ern India:

map snow leopard release siteThe exist­ing snow leop­ard con­ser­va­tion projects in Kangchen­junga Con­ser­va­tion Area include snow leop­ard mon­i­tor­ing using cam­era traps and prey-​base mon­i­tor­ing with the part­ner­ship of local cit­i­zen sci­en­tists and Snow Leop­ard Con­ser­va­tion Com­mit­tees, a pop­u­la­tion genetic study using fecal DNA, and a live­stock insur­ance scheme built at reduc­ing human-​snow leop­ard conflict.

“The snow leop­ard con­ser­va­tion pro­gram has given the local com­mu­ni­ties the oppor­tu­nity to build their own capac­i­ties in snow leop­ard mon­i­tor­ing,” stated Mr. Himali Chungda Sherpa, Chair­per­son of the Snow Leop­ard Con­ser­va­tion Committee-​Ghunsa. “This is fur­ther aid­ing the over­all under­stand­ing amongst the local com­mu­ni­ties on the impor­tance of pro­tect­ing the species thereby build­ing on our com­mit­ment towards snow leop­ard conservation.”

(Source: WWF Global News, 18.12.2013 )

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