Elusive Snow Leopards Captured in Video for First Time
Snow leopards, which are known for their slyness and elusive nature, have been captured in a video for the first time. Scientists from Pantheram, a wild cat conservation organization, and the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT) have taken video of two female snow leopards and their cubs in Mongolia’s Tost Mountains. Credit:Panthera/Snow Leopard Trust
Snow leopards, which are known for their slyness and elusive nature, have been captured in a video for the first time. Scientists from Panthera, a wild cat conservation organization, and the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT) have shot a video of two female snow leopards and their cubs in Mongolia's Tost Mountains.
Field scientist Orian Johansson, Panthera's Snow Leopard Field Scientist and Ph.D. student, has used a camera fixed to an extended pole and has recorded the female leopard along with her cub in a partially man-made den from a safe distance.
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"We have spent years trying to determine when and where snow leopards give birth, the size of their litters, and the chances a cub has of surviving into adulthood," said Tom McCarthy, the Executive Director of Panthera's Snow Leopard Program. "This is one of those exceptional moments in conservation where after years of effort, we get a rare glimpse into the life of an animal that needs our help in surviving in today's world. These data will help ensure a future for these incredible animals."
Because of the snow leopard's secretive nature and extreme mountain terrains that they inhabit, locating their dens has always been difficult.
The team of scientists from Panthera and the Snow Leopard Trust began their search back in 2008. In May, two female leopards restricted their movements in a smaller area which indicated that they were preparing to give birth. Scientists then on June 21 tracked them through their collars in two different dens which are located less than four miles apart.
The group entered the leopards' dens when the mothers were away hunting. All three cubs were weighed, measured and photographed with extreme care and without disturbing the family. Scientists have also fixed a tiny microchip ID tags under their skin for future identification.
"Knowledge about the first days and weeks of life is vital to our understanding of how big cat populations work, and how likely it is for a newborn to reach adulthood and contribute to a healthy population. A valid conservation program requires such information, which this new development in snow leopard research provides," Howard Quigley, Panthera's executive director of Jaguar and Cougar programs, said.
Watch the video of snow leopard below: