Snow leopard cubs – A video from Tajikistan11/12/2012 14:34:47 Snow leopards thriving in Tajikistan
December 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.
300 snow leopards in the Pamirs
Given the potential of this region as one of the world's last snow leopard strongholds, big cat charity 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, Panthera field staff recently uncovered incredible new images of a snow leopard mother and her two cubs, which they have made into a video. 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.Healthy population?
In addition to this special glimpse into the hidden lives of snow leopards, this footage also potentially indicates that a healthy, breeding snow leopard population exists in the Jartygumbez Istyk River region of Tajikistan, within a well-managed trophy hunting concession. These data are particularly positive for the region's snow leopard population when paired with evidence gathered in the summer of 2011 of snow leopard cubs (stealing a camera trap) in the Zorkul region of Tajikistan's Pamir Mountains (a collaborative project with Fauna and Flora International), approximately 100 km south of the Jartygumbez Istyk River region.
Poaching and unsustainable hunting of snow leopard prey
Panthera's scientists have identified poaching and unsustainable hunting of snow leopard prey, including ibex and Marco polo sheep, as a major threat to Tajikistan's snow leopards. To address this issue, our field staff are working with local villagers and a trophy "prey" hunting expert to analyze the infrastructure and training needed to establish a community-based hunting program of prey species.
Community based programme