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.
Panthera CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
Panthera is proud to share that Dr. Alan Rabinowitz has just received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Conservation at the prestigious Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This award recognizes Dr. Rabinowitz’s decades of tireless work to survey the world’s last wild places, with the goal of preserving wild habitats for some of the world’s most endangered mammals – including tigers and jaguars.
Panthera's snow leopard scientists have just retrieved this video of a snow leopard mother and her two cubs investigating a camera trap in the Tost Mountains of South Gobi, Mongolia. Based on the size of the cubs, our scientists estimate that they were at least born in the spring of 2010. Our scientists hope to collar these snow leopards in the coming months to learn more about their habitat use, breeding habits, survival, interactions with local human communities, and other valuable data.
In order to provide Panthera’s community of wild cat enthusiasts with the most comprehensive and up to date news about issues and events within the wild cat conservation field, we are launching a new, daily ‘Wild Cat Conservation News’ blog series. Each day, we will aggregate and share a summary of the most relevant and breaking news impacting the 37 species of wild cats around the world.