Snow leopards spotted in Xinjiang

URUMQI, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Photos and videos of rare snow leopards have been captured by infrared cameras in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, local authorities said Friday.

Healthy looking snow leopards were recorded in Hurimt at altitudes of 2,400 meters in January and April, but the exact number hasn't been confirmed yet.

"This is the first time that images of snow leopard have been captured in the Altai Mountains areas this year, which are helpful in understanding the distribution of this species in China, as well as the world," said Li Dehuai, an official of the administration of Altai Mountains two-river source reserve.

Both sources of the Ertix River and Ulungur River are in the reserve.

A total of 39 infrared cameras have been installed in the reserve to monitor snow leopards since 2017. Camera footage can only be collected between May and September due to high altitude and extreme cold weather in the area.

Besides snow leopards, the cameras also recorded images and videos of 32 other wild animals, including gluttons, wolves and brown bears.

"The fact that we are seeing snow leopards and many other wild animals in this area over a short period of time means there's a small but relatively stable and complete ecosystem," said He Bing, from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Patrollers and local herders say they have seen more wild animals in the area since the government prohibited mining in the region.

The snow leopard is a Class-A protected animal in China and the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies it as endangered-to-vulnerable.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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