Can GPS Help Save India’s Endangered Snow Leopards?

Snow Leopards

A reliable GPS device with a GlareStomper can really improve your navigation skills and travel time, but what can the same technology do for living creatures?

 

The State Wildlife Department has decided to try using GPS to help study and preserve the endangered Indian snow leopard.

Northern India contains habitat for up to 700 of the world’s remaining 7,000 snow leopards. These beautiful big cats prefer lush mountainous regions, which are quickly being destroyed.

 

To make matters worse for the leopards, their fur, body parts and bones are highly valued by unscrupulous smugglers who sell them for use in traditional Chinese medicine and black market fur trade.

 

The tracking project is estimated to cost $40,450. A total of six snow leopards will be fitted with satellite connected GPS collars in the icy Himachal Predesh region. This will allow experts and scientists to track the animals’ movements and observe how changes in climate and human influence impact the elusive leopards.

 

Along with the GPS collar project, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has created a fundraiser to provide support for the leopards in different ways. Money collected will go towards installing camera traps and livestock pens that are predator-proof so that local farmers can live peacefully alongside the dwindling leopards.

 

This isn’t the first time GPS has been used to help monitor the leopards. Nepal wildlife experts placed a collar on a snow leopard in December 2013 and are still successfully tracking its progress.

 

The fate of India’s snow leopards is uncertain, but GPS technology may help provide hope for the future of this beautiful big cat.