Study species: Snow leopard (Panthera uncia)
Project location: Tost Mountains, South Gobi, Mongolia
Species fact: Long-term camera trapping in Tost Mountains identified 40 cats using a 1700 km2 region with a stable population of 12-14 adults. The Tost population and neighbouring snow leopards are believed to be part of a metapopulation supporting genetic vibrancy in South Gobi.
Problem: Snow leopards, one of the world’s most elusive and least understood cats, live across twelve countries in the mountain ranges of Central Asia. They’re perfectly adapted to these steep, rugged environments and roam areas up to 220km2. But their habitat’s shrinking fast as their land is exploited for mining and as climate change reduces the alpine zone. This forces snow leopards to live closer to humans, exposing them to poaching for their fur and body parts, as well as retaliation from herders who fear for their livestock. The threat to these incredible big cats is extreme, with as few as 3,500 remaining in the wild, and the population declining every year.
We’ll support and strengthen the reserve’s management team. Regular patrolling is vital to keep the reserve free from illegal mining and poaching. Ten rangers now work together, patrolling the entire reserve throughout the year. Seven are from each of the local herder communities and are funded by PTES, the other three are funded by local government, keen to support the project.
There are seven herder communities living in Tost. We’ve assisted each community to have its own legally registered and mapped Community Responsible Area. We’ll work with each community to develop a pasture management strategy to minimize the use of sensitive wildlife areas.
We’ll assist with the development of responsible wildlife tourism. The region is rich with archaeological artifacts as well as incredible flora and fauna which could provide sustainable and wildlife friendly income through eco-tourism. This will help keep the area safe for snow leopards.
By monitoring snow leopards in the reserve, we can learn much more about them and how they live. Understanding complex processes such as rangeland dynamics, climate change, disease ecology, meta-population dynamics, reproduction and survival rates will help us protect snow leopards.
What your donation can achieve
could help support one of the community rangers on patrol.
could help Bayara champion snow leopards across Mongolia.
could help monitor a snow leopard this year.