Two snow leopards successfully satellite collared, Nepal’s tally up to eight
Both cats will be closely monitored by the national park and conservation biologists over the next 18 months. The GPS collar connected to the snow leopards periodically transmits the location of the animal providing invaluable information on the animal’s habitat, their spatial behavior, as well as transboundary movement patterns, contributing towards conservation planning for the species through habitat management, conflict mitigation or otherwise.
“The science derived from collaring expeditions such these are critical in strengthening conservation and management in the Western Himalayan Snow Leopard Landscape, a region known to have the highest snow leopard density in Nepal” says Dr. Pem Narayan Kandel, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment.
This is the second satellite telemetry expedition undertaken in Shey Phoksundo National Park, following the first one conducted in 2019 where two male snow leopards were successfully collared. The satellite collaring of these big cats brings up Nepal’s tally of satellite collared snow leopards to eight; wherein the first four were collared in Kanchenjunga Conservation Area between 2012-2017, and the other two in Shey Phoksundo National Park in 2019. The recent satellite telemetry expeditions were undertaken following the government’s decision in 2018 to study and research movement of the species through the installation of GPS collars on four snow leopards in Shey Phoksundo National Park, Dolpa. A team of 30 members; comprising of staff from the Shey Phoksundo National Park Office, wildlife experts, technicians, and veterinarians from WWF Nepal and the National Trust for Nature Conservation along with local citizen scientists, were involved in the expedition this year.
“The use of cutting-edge technology and data generated from the research and monitoring of the snow leopard using satellite collars will support the effective planning and management of species conservation within the park as well as in mitigating human snow leopard conflict for the betterment of Himalayan biodiversity" stated, Deepak Kumar Kharal, PhD, Director General, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
“Despite the pandemic, these efforts showcase the commitment of the government and local communities during one of the most challenging times of our lives” stated Dr. Ghana S. Gurung, Country Representative, WWF Nepal. The satellite telemetry expedition was led by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in partnership with WWF Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and citizen scientists from the local Snow Leopard Conservation Committee. WWF-UK, WWF Belgium, WWF Canada, and WWF Germany provided financial support for the collaring.
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WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. WWF has been active in Nepal since the 1960s and remains committed to the vital work being done in the region to save its unique and irreplaceable biodiversity.
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