In a landmark conservation research effort, conservationists have managed to equip a female snow leopard with GPS collar in Kanchanjunga Conservation Area, the world’s third highest mountain.
An approximately 3-year-old female snow leopard weighing 30kg was outfitted with a GPS collar and released back into the wild on 27 April 2016, according to WWF Nepal.
Earlier, two snow leopards have been equipped with GPS machines to track the movements of the endangered cat in November 2013 and May 2015. This is the first time a female snow leopard has been fitted with such technology.
Conservationists believe that data received from the Lapchhemba, as she has been named after a Tibetan deity, will enable study of her behaviour, identify critical habitats and ecology vis-à-vis her male counterparts, her movement patterns in the alpine regions including transboundary links across India and China.
“Nepal hopes to gain new knowledge from its first collared female snow leopard,” WWF Nepal quoted Krishna Acharya, Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “We believe it will also contribute towards understanding deeper transboundary linkages to promote collaborative conservation strategies with neighbouring China and India.”
The 50-day long collaring expedition was led by Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in partnership with WWF, Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities Project funded by USAID, National Trust for Nature Conservation, Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council, and citizen scientists from the local Snow Leopard Conservation Committee conducted the 50-day long collaring expedition, it is learnt.
According to 2008 data released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), often considered the world’s main authority on the conservation status of animals, there are 4,080-6,590 snow leopards in the wild and Nepal is house to some 300-500 snow leopards.
Source: The Kathmandu Post