'Tis the Season for Snow Leopard Cubs - Tajikistan, 2012

Known as the ‘Roof of the World,’ the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan are situated at the intersection of several of Asia’s greatest mountain ranges, and fittingly may represent some of the richest habitat for ‘Asia’s Mountain Ghost’ – the elusive snow leopard.

Today, as many as 300 of the remaining 3,500-7,000 wild snow leopards are thought to live in the Tajik Pamirs – an area which provides a potentially critical link between the southern and northern regions of the snow leopard’s range, and may serve as a vital genetic corridor for the species.

Given the potential of this region as one of the world’s last snow leopard strongholds, Panthera recently carried out two extensive camera trap surveys in the Pamir Mountains, including one in Tajikistan’s Jartygumbez Istyk River region in collaboration with University of Delaware graduate student Shannon Kachel and the Tajik Academy of Sciences.

While reviewing photos from the survey’s 40 camera traps, our field staff recently uncovered incredible new images of a snow leopard mother and her two cubs, which we have made into a video. In true holiday form, the playful cubs are shown licking and pawing icicles, and attempting to climb a rock. Along with this entertaining footage, also included are stunning images of the snow leopard mother and one of her cubs inspecting the camera trap, their quizzical faces pressed up against the camera lens.

Read the full story of these snow leopards in Panthera's December 2012 Newsletter