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GPS collars to help scientists track elusive snow leopard

You think spies are hard to track. The most elusive spooks in the world have nothing on the snow leopard. It’s one of the most reclusive animals on the planet, with its propensity to inhabit steep, rocky terrain and come out when it’s dark and strike quickly before fading into the shadows once again.

Yet biologists have now tagged one of the elusive cats with a GPS collar in order to track its movements. This first (although probably unwilling and certainly unknowing) volunteer was caught in Pakistan. It weighed in at 75 pounds, so some sedation was certainly involved. The scientists want to track these animals because they know so little about them.

This team of biologists is an international lot, who have plans to tag four more snow leopards during the next several months. The scientists are after day-to-day movements and the size of their home terrain.

Several times a day, the collar will buzz its location to the scientists via a satellite relay. The collar is designed to stay attached to the animal for just 14 months before it naturally decays and falls off. (That is provided that the cat doesn’t somehow manage to remove it first.) And we won’t go in to how many miles and feet above sea level the scientists had to travel to set up the snares that eventually caught the cat. Suffice it to say that they had to work really hard.

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