Snow leopard cubs filmed in den for first time13/07/2012 09:20:45 For the first time ever, researchers in Mongolia have been able to locate and video cubs within a den site belonging to the rare and endangered snow leopard - Scroll down or click here to see video
July 2012. After a month of intensive searching, an international research team has located the den sites of two female snow leopards and captured astonishing videos of a young cub resting inside a den with its mother.
The research team has been tracking snow leopards in Mongolia's South Gobi desert since 2008 using GPS radio collars. In May, two of the study's females began to restrict their daily movements to smaller and smaller areas, which the team interpreted as a signal that both were preparing to give birth. Traveling through steep and rocky mountain outcroppings, the team followed VHF signals transmitted by the collars and finally located the dens on 21 June.High up in steep canyons
Only six kilometres apart, both dens were high up in steep canyons. The first den was in a big cave with a man-made rock wall blocking most of the entrance. ‘As we stood outside the den we could hear the cub and smell the cats but not see anything inside the den,' noted researcher Orjan Johansson of Sweden. He and his colleagues, Sumbee Tomorsukh of Mongolia, Mattia Colombo of Italy, and Carol Esson of Australia, had to think fast and decided to tape a camera to their VHF antenna. Extending the camera over the wall they were able to film the inside of the cave. Their remarkable footage shows a female snow leopard lying tucked against the wall staring at the entrance with a paw over her tiny cub.
‘This is incredible,' says Brad Rutherford, Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust. ‘Snow leopards are so rare and elusive that people often talk about them as ‘ghosts' of the mountains. This is the first documented visit of a den site with cubs and thanks to this video we can share it with the world.'
Second den - Two male cubs
Very important scientific material
Just 4000 snow leopards
This long-term snow leopard study in Mongolia's South Gobi is a joint project with Snow Leopard Conservation Fund and Panthera, and is in cooperation with the Mongolia Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism and the Mongolia Academy of Sciences.The research team, co-managed by the Snow Leopard Trust and Panthera, and supported by three UK organizations-BBC Wildlife Fund, Whitley Fund for Nature, and David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.