Biologists have discovered a surprisingly healthy population of rare snow leopards living in the mountainous reaches of northeastern Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor.
Wildlife Conservation Society-trained community rangers used camera traps to document the presence of snow leopards at 16 different locations across a wide landscape.
The big cats are threatened in the region. Poaching for their pelts, persecution by shepherds, and the capture of live animals for the illegal pet trade have all been documented in the Wakhan Corridor. Between 4,500 and 7,500 snow leopards remain in the wild scattered across a dozen countries in Central Asia.
Snow leopards have declined by as much as 20 percent over the past 16 years and are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
–Reprinted from materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society.