Anu’s Tale

Photo Courtesy of Matthias Fiechter

Snow Leopard Trust researchers have been able to follow and observe a young female snow leopard named Anu over the course of four years as she grew up, dispersed from her mother and later had cubs herself twice in her mountain habitat in Mongolia’s South Gobi. Recent camera-trap photos show Anu followed by three small cubs. Her tale is a powerful sign of hope for the endangered cat species.

By Matthias Fiechter, Snow Leopard Trust

In the fall of 2014, our team retrieved a research camera they had set up near a watering hole in Mongolia’s Tost Mountains. Days later, we got an excited email from the field: “Amazing pics. Mother with 3 cubs!”

Half a year and hours of painstaking detective work went by until we realized we knew the mom of these three cuties. It was Anu, a cat we had previously tracked for several years!

While most of these elusive cats stay hidden forever, Anu has become something a public ambassador for her species since she was first thrust into the spotlight.

Part of A Groundbreaking Study
In 2008, researchers from the Snow Leopard Trust had set up camp in the Tost Mountains, on the edge of the Gobi desert in Mongolia – just a few miles from where Anu was born – for what was to become the world’s first long-term study of the endangered snow leopard’s ecology and behavior.

Using technology such as motion-sensor cameras and GPS tracking collars, the scientists sought to lift the veil on some of the snow leopard’s secrets: how much space do these cats need? How much prey do they consume? How do they interact? Where do they migrate to, and which patterns do they follow?

The answers to some of these questions have helped shape effective conservation measures over the —> Read More