Kazakhstan initiates satellite monitoring for snow leopards

Kazakh zoologists have developed an innovative method for tracking the movement of snow leopards. Now, it will be possible to monitor the predators using satellite telemetry. Until recently, camera traps were considered the only method for tracking snow leopards. It is noteworthy that over the past 30 years, the population of snow leopards has doubled. Currently, there are around 180 individuals in the territory of the country, with 120 of them inhabiting specially protected national parks and reserves.

“A total of 10 snow leopards have been tagged with special satellite transmitters, and we are monitoring their movements. The advantage of using satellite telemetry is that we can track their movements in real-time. We know the location of a snow leopard at any given moment, study the areas of its habitats, explore the paths of its migration, and can organize its protection,” said Alexey Grachev, laboratory head at the Institute of Zoology.

Special collars equipped with sensors allow specialists to track not only the location but also the health status of the predators. This technology is also convenient for monitoring the population of snow leopards. According to scientists, the positive trend in the snow leopard population growth continues.

“At the Institute of Zoology, a cryobank of the genetic material of the snow leopard has been created. According to our information, there are 11 individuals, both males and females. We have recently learned about new migration routes and the establishment of specially protected areas there. To date, we do not observe any risks of a decrease in population or the overall loss of the species,” said Daniyar Turgambayev, Acting Chairman of Committee, Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.