Snow Leopard: Stories from the Roof of the World Book Release with Contributions from Panthera’s Snow Leopard Scientists
On July 30th, the University Press of Colorado published a new book entitled Snow Leopard: Stories from the Roof of the World, featuring contributions from Panthera’s Vice President, Dr. George Schaller, and Panthera’s Snow Leopard Executive Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy, based on their decades of snow leopard conservation research.
Tune in to CBS This Morning news program Saturday at 7am EST to see coverage of Panthera's and SLT's first ever findings of snow leopard dens with mothers and cubs from our Mongolia project.
This Morning airs at 7am EST but check local listings for exact air times.
*Update: The CBS segment featuring Panthera’s snow leopard videos has been postponed. Check back with us for updates on the airing and thank you for your support!
Unprecedented Footage Provides Glimpse into the World of Young Snow Leopards
New York, NY - For the first time, the den sites of two female snow leopards and their cubs have been located in Mongolia's Tost Mountains, with the first known videos taken of a mother and cubs, located and recorded by scientists from Panthera, a wild cat conservation organization, and the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT).
Canon recently released a short film entitled ‘Man and Beast’ that portrays the life of Panthera’s CEO and wild cat expert, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, including why he has devoted his career to saving the world’s wild cats. Produced with a new and technologically advanced Canon Cinema EOS camera, the ten minute beautifully shot film features a powerful depiction of Dr. Rabinowitz’s childhood, during which he was faced with a debilitating stutter and sought solace in speaking to animals, that also had no voice. The film then moves on to portray Dr. Rabinowitz’s young adult life when he dedicated his career to saving and giving a voice to animals.
Watch the film here.
Today, as many as 400 snow leopards are believed to exist across the two northernmost provinces of Pakistan, and recently, scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF), whom Panthera partners with in the country, were lucky enough to capture two of these extremely elusive cats on camera. After retrieving digital images from camera traps set up in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, the researchers were amused to find a series of photos showing a snow leopard cub sniffing and then upending an SLF camera trap!
While snow leopards are extremely rare and are seldom seen in the wild (only 3,500-7,000 exist), local people who share their home with this big cat consider it to be one of the major threats to their livelihoods, by killing and feeding off livestock, including cattle, goats, and other domesticated animals. One of the biggest threats to snow leopards is retaliatory killing by people who have lost livestock. And often times, their fears may be real. A survey conducted in four regions of Mongolia revealed that 14% of livestock owners admitted to hunting snow leopards as retribution for loss of their livestock [*1]. A separate study found that 38% of the total livestock losses in Ladakh, India could be attributed to snow leopards [*2].
It’s no secret that big cats, just like their distant cousin, the domestic house cat, are characteristically curious, particularly when it comes to Panthera’s camera traps. Wild cats and other wildlife are naturally intrigued (and sometimes even spooked) when they pass through camera traps’ infrared sensors and trigger flashes of light, or spot the glowing, red light emitted by some of Panthera’s camera trap models. Most of the time, these cats react by taking a closer, quizzical look at the camera traps, and sometimes they sniff, paw and even ‘mark’ or spray Panthera’s camera traps to identify their territories.
In March, Panthera’s snow leopard scientists placed 20 camera traps throughout Mongolia’s rugged Tost Mountains in hopes of capturing new data that would inform Panthera’s snow leopard conservation initiatives. Today, we are excited to share a number of our ‘best of’ Spring camera trap photos.
Although the snow leopard has been given the nickname of ‘Asia’s Mountain Ghost,’ Panthera’s scientists captured many images of not-so-shy snow leopards demonstrating their characteristic cat curiosity by examining the camera traps with their eyes, noses, and tongues.