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Last Updated: Tuesday November 28 2006 13:11 GMT

Snow leopards tracked from space

Snow Leopard

A very rare big cat is being helped to survive using high-tech equipment which follows its movements from space.

A snow leopard has been fitted with a GPS tag, something that signals a satellite to say exactly where it is.

Snow leopards are under threat of being wiped out, and by tracking how they wander about, scientists hope to figure what's needed to protect them.

It's the first time one of these animals has had a GPS tag fitted, and experts hope to tag four more.

Snow leopards
Snow Leopard (Ashley Spearing)
Between 3,500-7,000 left in wild
Live in high, rugged mountains of central Asia
In captivity, live up to 21 years
Weigh between 35-55kg, about 60cm tall
Mysterious creatures

Not much is known about snow leopards, because they live in very remote areas and keep to themselves.

Experts don't know how much space each leopard needs, and it's hoped this study will find this out, and help efforts to protect them.

They've used a new system to catch this leopard, and because they got one so quickly, they reckon it shouldn't be too long before they've reached their target.



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