KATHMANDU, Nepal – Nepal made a new stride ahead in snow leopard conservation with the historic collaring of a big cat using satellite GPS technology in Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal.
The adult big cat, roughly five years old and weighing 40kg with a body length of 193cm was captured, fitted with a GPS Plus Globalstar collar and released back into the forest at 10:45am on 25th November 2013.
The collaring expedition which lasted 45 days was headed by a team of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) in partnership with WWF, National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) and Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council/Snow Leopard Conservation Committee-Ghunsa.
‘The snow leopard collaring is indeed a new win for Nepal,’ stated Mr. Megh Bahadur Pand
ey, Director General of the DNPWC adding, ‘it reiterates the commitment of the government of Nepal to strengthen measures to better understand and protect the snow leopard whose survival is under threat from human activitiess and the pervasive impacts of global climate change.’
This is the first time that satellite-GPS technology is being used in snow leopard collaring in Nepal.
‘The collaring expedition also marks the first time that local communities through citizen scientists and Snow Leopard Conservation Committees which played a key role in identifying snow leopard hotspots ‘ DNPWC stated in a release.
During a programme organized to make public about historic achievement, country representative of WWF Nepal Anil Manandhar said Nepal’s Himalayas are rich mosaic of perfect habitat, freshwater and wildlife species including the iconic snow leopard.
Snow leopards are highly elusive creatures and given the terrains they reside in, monitoring work on the species is a highly challenging task. While past studies on the snow leopard have been limited to areas that are accessible to people, this technology will help provide important information on the ecology and behavior of the wide ranging snow leopard.
WWF Nepal provided fund both financial and technical for the collaring expedition.