From dense jungles to the Himalayas, tigers are an elusive species—hard to find and hard to count. But, thanks to the use of camera traps, the movements and behaviors of tigers are now less of a mystery.
Samundra Subba is a research officer at WWF Nepal with a focus on large carnivores—primarily tigers and snow leopards. He’s joined six satellite telemetry expeditions of snow leopards. This is his journey.
Scientists successfully collared two snow leopards in Western Nepal—a feat that will help researchers learn more about this elusive and vulnerable species. The satellite GPS collaring of these big cats brings Nepal’s tally of collared snow leopards to eight.
Snow leopards live in some of the most rugged landscapes in Asia’s high mountains, which makes it incredibly difficult to study these rare and elusive big cats. A large majority of snow leopard habitat remains under-researched, according to the first-ever systematic review of snow leopard research conducted to date.
Elusive and solitary nature, snow leopards are rarely spotted and even less frequently studied within their rugged and harsh habitat. However last November, two snow leopards were captured, fitted with satellite-GPS collars, and successfully released back into their rocky homeland in Western Nepal. The two male snow leopards were the first since the 1980s to be fitted with collars within Shey Phoksundo National Park in Western Nepal.
Established in 2010 and dubbed Tx2, it is arguably the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to recover an endangered species. Today, the overall tiger population decline has begun to reverse, with better data and improved surveys indicating there are likely now close to 4,000 tigers roaming free across the range states.Here are the Tx2’s top nine achievements to date.
Human-wildlife conflict is a major issue for many poor people who live near forests in rural areas of Nepal. That’s one of the reasons why WWF and other partners in conservation launched the Hariyo Ban (Green Forest) program to find lasting solutions that protect people’s lives, livestock and crops and prevent the retaliatory killing of wildlife.
WWF and partners have launched a program to reduce pressure on forests and improve the lives of women and marginalized people through projects such as providing improved cook stoves that burn firewood more efficiently.
Snow leopards scale the great, steep slopes of mountains in Central Asia with ease, blending into the landscape. But these endangered cats face many threats including habitat loss, reduced prey and retaliatory killings. WWF works to reduce human-leopard conflict and protect the fragile snow leopard habitat.
Three years ago, researchers from WWF-Mongolia set up camera traps to photograph snow leopards in and around Khovd Aimag’s Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain, located in western Mongolia’s Altai Mountains, to determine the elusive cat’s population size and distribution.
Overlapping heavily with snow leopard habitat, the Third Pole encompasses the snow-covered mountains surrounding the Tibetan Plateau. The Pole’s thousands of glaciers and regular snow melt form the headwaters for 10 of Asia’s biggest rivers, which bring drinking water, power and irrigation directly to 210 million people, while these river basins indirectly support more than 1.3 billion people.
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