A World Record of 8 Snow Leopards seen in Mongolia

Our second Snow Leopard tour of the year took place between February 28th and March 14th, 2023. Our group consisted of three guests - Mr. Gehan Rajapakse, Mr. Namal Kamalgoda and Mrs. Jackie Kamalgoda from Sri Lanka. Our guests arrived at 23:40 on February 27th. The next day, we went around the Mongolica Hotel and saw various birds such as Ruddy Shelduck, Carrion Crow, Common Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Azure Tit, Great Tit, Red-throated Thrush, Black-throated Thrush, Fieldfare, Common Starling and White-cheeked Starling. 

On March 1st, we took a flight to Khovd and landed at around 3:30 pm. We headed to our Snow Leopard camp directly and it took one and a half hours to reach there. We walked up the valley on March 2nd and our guest Gehan took some photos of Bearded Vultures on the nest. We spotters walked farther up and scanned the slopes with binoculars and spotting scope. But, no sign of the Snow Leopards. 

The following day, three of us (me and two local spotters) split up. At around noon, one of our local spotters found the Snow Leopard resting in the small cave. We called the camp and our guests came to the site after a while. The leopard was still resting in the cave and it walked away before it got dark which allowed us to take some decent photos. 

We decided to rest on the following day as we had seen the Snow Leopard on the 2nd day in the valley. In the afternoon, one of our spotters went farther up and stayed overnight with one of the local families. On Day 3, he walked up the higher slope and found a young Snow Leopard (presumed to be 3 years old). It was too long to walk for our guests, so I decided to go with our other spotter to confirm the sighting. When we got there, the leopard was sleeping on the rock and it went into the cave after a while. 

On the way back to camp, we heard a Snow Leopard calling to mate from the opposite slope. A few seconds later, we spotted the leopard walking on the rock and it went behind some rocks soon after. It got too dark to find this leopard again and we went back to the camp. 

On Day 4, three of us went up to find the leopard seen at dusk yesterday evening. After scanning the slope for 20-30 minutes, we spotted the leopard sleeping on a flat area under a big rock face. It turned out to be not just one leopard, at least two other little leopards were sleeping as well. I ran to the car to take out guests from the camp and our two spotters stayed at the location watching the leopards. It took about 40 minutes to come back with our guests. We went closer to the leopards and there were three healthy cubs with their mother. 

This female Snow Leopard with three cubs was seen again in another valley in the south after two days. 

On Day 7, one of our spotters saw a Snow Leopard with the spotting scope from outside of the camp at around 6:00 pm. It was too late to go after this leopard. On Day 8, three of us went up again to find the leopard seen yesterday evening. We found the leopard sleeping in a small cave a bit farther up from the location where we saw the leopard last evening. It was too high for our guests to walk up, so I approached the leopard with two spotters to take some decent photos. We were about 80 meters from the leopard. After a few minutes, the leopard knew our presence and walked away super slowly. 

At the end of the tour, we saw a total of 8 different Snow Leopards, including a female with 3 cubs. We are pretty sure that no one has ever seen 8 Snow Leopards before during a single tour.