After months of watching endangered snow leopards in northwest China utilizing satellite technology, Chinese researchers claim to have produced “breakthrough” results about their behavior. The Qilian Mountain National Nature Reserve, in collaboration with Wildlife Research Institute of Beijing Forestry University, began satellite tracking of snow leopards for the first time in early this year after receiving prior consent from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
The researchers were given permission to trap the animals and place positioning collars on them in order to improve the monitoring of their behavior and habitats with the aim to conserve endangered species better.
“For years, we’d intended to undertake satellite monitoring of snow leopards, but a number of factors constrained us. Since the snow leopard is protected as a first-class state animal in China, catching it may pose significant risks. We made extensive preparations and caught 3 snow leopards for research after receiving administrative approval, “Shi Kun, the director of Beijing Forestry University’s Wildlife Research Institute, agreed.
“The snow leopard’s satellite collars can let us better comprehend its behavior, particularly its activity patterns.” Experts consider the initial set of data obtained by the satellite monitoring system to be ground-breaking findings when compared to previous scientific records.
“Previously, we only had a rudimentary comprehension of the snow leopard’s native area, which was thought to be roughly 100 square kilometers. But, thanks to satellite tracking, we’ve discovered that their scope of home activity is vast, with some spanning over 1,700 square kilometers, considerably beyond our expectations, “Shi remarked.
The first three snow leopards taken for satellite monitoring were dispersed in the northwest China Qilian Mountain National Nature Reserve, which straddles the boundary between Qinghai and Gansu provinces. They are of varying ages and sexes. The researchers named the first snow leopard collected female approaching puberty, Suye.
The second was Lingzhe, a male leopard who was eventually named after him. The new adult was seized and rehabilitated by Qinghai wildlife rescue facility before being allowed back into the wild wearing a satellite collar in March after straying into the farmer’s house situated in Qinghai’s Menyuan Hui Autonomous County. The third leopard, “Nayin,” was quite easy to capture due to its advanced age. Even after being liberated, the male leopard went about his daily routine.
The 3 snow leopards who were fitted with satellite collars were all returned into the wild. While the collars continue to feed back data, the experts have watched satellite signals and performed on-the-spot examinations.