Chance of a lifetime..in the footsteps of wild snow leopards

November 23, 2009

Beautiful rare wild snow leopard seen by KarmaQuest / Snow Leopard Conservancy trek participants in northern India during a previous winter trek. Photo by Brian Keating.

there’s still a bit of time to sign up for the Snow Leopard Conservancy and KarmaQuest trek in search of wild snow leopards in the Himalayas. This is such an exciting project (a two week trek in February 2010 to search for wild snow leopards and their prey). The previous winter teams have all seen wild snow leopards ….amazing…you all know that this is a rare thing indeed, rarer than the proverbial hen’s teeth.

check out the project info here.

This would have to be one of the most amazing wildlife experiences ever…truly the chance of a lifetime!


GPS to stalk snow leopard prey in high mountains of Nepal

November 18, 2009
GPS stalking of blue sheep - snow leopard prey.

GPS stalking of blue sheep - snow leopard prey. Photo Massey university, New Zealand.

Researchers at New Zealand’s Massey University Institute of Natural Sciences will be placing global positioning satellite (GPS) collars on Bharal, the blue sheep of the Himalayas in the Annapurna region of Nepal. They are called blue sheep as their fur is brown to blue. They are also very distinctive with tightly curled horns.

The Bharal is one of the major prey species for snow leopards and the region is remote and at very high altitudes so in the past its been almost impossible to study these sheep. Questions the researchers will want to answer include are there enough of these sheep to support the snow leopard populations?

Project Leader Achyut Aryal from Nepal says “this region is one of the last refuges for species such as snow leopards, brown bear, wolf, lynx and, importantly, their keystone prey species, the blue sheep.”

The researchers will track 10 sheep for two years across the high mountains to learn their grazing habits, movements and population numbers.  Another innovation of the project is to involve New Zealand school children who’ll be able to track the movements of the sheep on computers in their classrooms.

More on this story here.

More facts on blue sheep here.


Christmas? have a look at lovely gift ideas from snow leopard country

November 18, 2009
Oruktam slippers from Snow Leopard Trust shop.

Very cute and comfy Oruktam slippers from Snow Leopard Trust shop. These and more beautiful items makes lovely Christmas presents.

It’s that time of year again and I’d like to remind you all that the Snow Leopard Trust shop has a wonderful collection of crafts made by people in Mongolia through the Snow Leopard Enterprise program.  I mention this at least a few times a year so bear with me if you know about it already:-)

This is so worthwhile…you get a lovely gift, either for yourself or to give a loved one, the people who made the item get financial support and the snow leopards that live in the remote mountains are supported by the villagers and the herding communities…talk about the old win/win!

As for me, I’ve got my eye on these gorgeous Oruktan slippers – aren’t they cute? Check out the SLT Shop here.


Snow leopard cubs die at Welsh Mountain Zoo

November 18, 2009

There have been many successful snow leopard cub births in zoos across the world this year (including our own Melbourne Zoo) and I must say I sometimes forget how fragile the breeding programs can be. Sadly two cubs born in May this year at the Welsh Mountain Zoo have died recently after coming down with feline cowpox. This cowpox is carried by small mammals like voles and wild mice and common in domestic cats in the UK according to an article in the North Wales Pioneer. More from the BBC here.

Hopefully zoo staff and vets around the world can learn from these sad deaths and it won’t happen again. The Zoo says its hopes the snow leopard parents, mother Otila and her mate Szechuan will breed again next year.

 


November 1, 2009
Tracking snow leopards in Mongolia. Map from Snow Leopard Trust blog.

Tracking snow leopards in Mongolia. The different colors represent the different snow leopards. Map from Snow Leopard Trust blog.

The Snow Leopard Trust’s Mongolia project is going full steam ahead and the team is getting heaps of data on the cats they are watching – check out the blog for the movements of Saikhan, Shonkhor, Aztai, Itgel and Tsagaan in the Gobi desert and the Tost and Toson Bumba Mountains of Mongolia. Isn’t technology wonderful? Just to think we can watch where these cats are moving across remote and mountainous region – fantastic. Not only that, but by seeing a cat stay in one place for a few days the researchers know the animal has made a kill and is eating.

Check the SLT blog for regular exciting updates. Learn more detail about all the cats that have been radio collared on the blog About the Cats Page.