Video: Snow leopard WWF footage reveals ark’s worth of wildife in Bhutan
Big cat video shows endangered species scent-marking
These astonishing pictures show one of the rarest and most elusive creatures on Earth – the mountain snow leopard.
Camouglaged against the rocks the leopard was captured by a camera trap in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan between India and China
The first ever snow leopard prey survey in Bhutan’s newest national park has revealed amazing footage of snow leopards.
Only 4,500 to 7,500 exist in the wild. They live in some of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth making finding them extremely difficult.
This is the first visual evidence that snow leopards are thriving in Wangchuck Centennial Park, a vital snow leopard corridor between Jigme Dorji National Park in the West and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary in the East. Field biologists from the Government of Bhutan and WWF captured over 10,000 images during the camera trap survey in Wangchuck Centennial Park.
The automatic cameras were set up to locate snow leopard “hot-spots”, but in addition to snow leopard images, they also captured images and footage of Tibetan wolf, wild dog, red fox, blue sheep, Himalayan serow, musk deer, Pika, pheasants and several birds of prey.
“The findings are phenomenal as these are the first snow leopard images recorded in Wangchuck Centennial Park,” said WWF’s Dr. Rinjan Shrestha, who led the survey team.
“It suggests that the network of protected areas and corridors is helping to link local snow leopard populations, which will be invaluable to ensure long-term persistence of snow leopards in the region.”
Bhutan is the only country on Earth where the habitat of snow leopards and tigers intersect. It’s unknown how many exist there, but it’s critical to find out as threats are mounting – from retaliatory killing from herders, loss of habitat to farmers and poaching for their pelts. And then there’s climate change.
Warming at high elevations in the Himalayas is causing treelines to ascend and isolating snow leopard populations. The overall goal of the survey is to determine how many snow leopards there are in Wangchuck and where they exist, in order to prioritize the best areas for conservation.
“The snow leopard images from the park show the incredible richness of wildlife thriving in Wangchuck Centennial Park and prove why the park must be supported by donor agencies for conservation,” said Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan.
The Government of Bhutan and WWF have partnered to co-manage Wangchuck Centennial Park since it was designated as Bhutan’s tenth national park in 2008. More than half of Bhutan is now under protection.