Never before seen Russian snow leopards caught on camera

December 1, 2011
Rare Russian snow leopard. Credit: WWF-Russia / Sergey Spitsyn

New WWF camera traps have captured the images of two rare snow leopards in Russia. The photographs  are the first ever taken of snow leopards in Russia's Altai mountains.  WWF camera traps last month also captured the first images of snow leopards in Nepal. 

Two snow leopards appear in the new pictures. One of them was captured in the daylight, which is unusual, because the reclusive predator prefers to hunt in the dusk. Snow leopards are endangered with only an estimated 6,000 remaining in the wild.

WWF was also lucky to get the pictures of another very cautious animal – Manul, or Pallas's cat. The camera also captured snowcocks, a wolverine, steppe polecat, stoat, and Siberian ibex.

Previously, experts could monitor this endangered species only by prints and other signs such as feces, bits of fur, claw or teeth marks on trees and the ground. This type of monitoring requires endurance, professionalism, and luck, because habitat is located on mountain ridges up to 4000 meters high that are difficult to access, and old snow leopard tracks can often be confused with lynx and wolverine tracks.

The camera are installed along the whole Chikhacheva ridge in and Mongolia. Such simultaneous photomonitoring in different parts of the habitat will allow us to get information on snow leopard distribution and help us plan conservation measures.

The snow leopard population on this mountain ridge is considered to be key for the species in Russia. It consists of 10-15 animals and links Russian snow leopards with the ones in Mongolia.

Explore further: Amur leopard still on the brink of extinction, scientists say

Related Stories

Critically endangered Amur leopards captured on video

July 13, 2011

Recent video footage from a survey on a group of critically endangered Amur leopards in the Russian Far East has yielded unexpectedly positive results, giving evidence that some wild groups of the big cat are showing clear ...

Snow leopard population discovered in Afghanistan

July 13, 2011

The Wildlife Conservation Society has discovered a surprisingly healthy population of rare snow leopards living in the mountainous reaches of northeastern Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor, according to a new study.

Nepal children to track snow leopard

November 8, 2011

Conservationists in Nepal have enlisted an army of school children to record the movements of the mysterious snow leopard, one of the most elusive predators in the world, a scientist said Tuesday.

Counting cats: The endangered snow leopards of the Himalayas

November 28, 2011

The elusive snow leopard (Panthera uncia) lives high in the mountains across Central Asia. Despite potentially living across 12 countries the actual numbers of this beautiful large cat are largely unknown. It is thought that ...

Recommended for you

Explaining crocodiles in Wyoming

September 2, 2015

Fifty million years ago, the Cowboy State was crawling with crocodiles. Fossil records show that crocs lounged in the shade of palm trees from southwestern Wyoming to southern Canada during the Cretaceous and Eocene.  Exactly ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.