Target species conservation | WWF

Target species conservation

Snow leopard Sky
© WWF Mongolia

Snow leopards have been fitted with tracking collars enabling to learn about their movement

It is indeed a not easy task to catch elusive snow leopards leading secretive lives for the purpose of fitting them with tracking collars. However, the task has been fulfilled by the WWF-Mongolia thus contributing greatly to the study of the species. The research expedition that has worked for the duration of 14 days, covering period from 27 April till the end of 12 May, 2013 included biologists, assistant doctor to put to sleep and rehabilitate the animal, an experienced local hunter and specialists from the WWF-Mongolia. The aim was to catch two snow leopards from the  Jargaltkhairkhan mountain of Khar-Us Lake NP and put satellite collars around their neck. The team members were confident that they would accomplish their task successfully given their unsuccessful efforts to do so few months earlier by catching the animal using traps. However, this time they put better traps totally at 11 different spots and double monitored them by installing automatic cameras. As O.Munkhtogtokh, head of the research team said, totally 6 snow leopards have arrived at the trap sites and one of them was caught in the trap. Initially, calming injection then sleeping injection were shot by the special gun. After putting to sleep, the measurements of the female leopard, aged 4-5 were taken revealing its weight being at 39.5kg and being pregnant. This snow leopard was then given name of Tenger, which means “the Sky”, the name given by Ms.Yo.Onon, the former WWF staff who initiated this work couple of years ago. After 2 hours 17 minutes from sleeping injection the animal started to crawl and soon left the site. This was, in fact, the first ever fitting of satellite collar on the snow leopard in the Altai- Sayan ecoregion, Mongolian part. Biologists believe that by fitting satellite collar on elusive snow leopard will enable researchers to identify the overall distance and time laps covered by the animal to inform further the snow leopard protection work more accurately to achieve better conservation results.

Species conservation in Mongolia

Mongolia boasts a wide variety of wildlife: 139 species of mammals; 450 species of birds (331 migratory and 119 resident within Mongolia year round); 22 species of reptiles; 6 species of amphibians; and 76 fish species.

Mongolia’s remoteness, low population density and traditional nomadic lifestyle are named as major factors for preserving high level of biodiversity. However, pressure on natural resources is growing due to an increasingly imbalanced economic growth policy.

Protection, sustainable use and equitable sharing of benefits from biodiversity resource are an essential component for WWF Mongolia’s conservation program.

This program has a decade-long legacy in species conservation practice targeting Snow Leopards (Uncia uncia), wild mountain sheep - Argali (Ovis ammon) and Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica mongolica) in their natural habitats. They are key species for the Altai-Sayan Mountain Ecoregion, representing the best of high-mountain ecosystem diversity and connectivity (in terms of prey-predator and cause-effect relationships).

For the Daurian Steppe, the next priority ecoregion for WWF Mongolia, gazelles (Procapra gutturosa) have been selected as the flagship species.

By achieving conservation of these species, WWF Mongolia believe that many other species sharing the same habitat and under the same threats will be protected.
Przewalski's horse or Takhi, (<i>Equus ferus przewalski</i>)  rel=
Przewalski's horse or Takhi, (Equus ferus przewalski) is the only true wild horse left in the world.
© WWF / Hartmut JUNGIUS


WWF Mongolia has prioritized under its Conservation Program species of high importance. They have been selected according to their characteristics of flagship species; their ability to represent the eco-region at best and their contribution to overall protection of ecosystem health and protection of other species sharing the same habitat and threats.

WWF Mongolia priority species include for:
Altai-Sayan Eco-region:

  • Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) ;
  • Argali Sheep resident to Altai Mountainous region (Ovis ammon ammon);
  • Mongolian Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica mongolica )

Daurian Steppe Eco-region:

  • Mongolian Gazelle (Procapra gutturosa)

What WWF are doing

We at WWF Mongolia have identified the following major issues and their root causes to be addressed under the newly designed Conservation Program covering the period from 2005 through 2010:

  1. Species Loss (over-harvesting & wildlife trade; climate change; pollutions causing extinction and genetic mutations);
  2. Habitat Loss (overgrazing; imbalanced economic growth);
  3. Disturbance of ecosystem connectivity, species interaction and migration;
  4. Weak policy enforcement and conservation management