Rare snow leopard spotted in NW China’s Qilian Mountains

LANZHOU, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) — Footage captured in Qilian Mountain National Park located in northwest China’s Gansu Province, showed a snow leopard climbing rocks on Tuesday, local authorities said.

In the video shot by the park’s conservation station staff, the snow leopard was seen climbing upwards languidly at an altitude of about 2,900 meters, making brief stops occasionally.

As a flagship species in the region, the geographical distribution and population of the rare leopard are among the key indicators to evaluate the local ecosystem and biodiversity, according to Ma Duifang, an official with the park administration.

“The cryptic creature is usually active at night and one can rarely capture snow leopards in videos shot with mobile phones in the daytime. Espying it during the daytime indicates their growing population and the improvement of the Qilian Mountains ecology,” Ma said.

Snow leopards are under China’s highest national-level protection and are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The species mainly inhabit the Himalayas in central and southern Asia at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,500 meters.

In China, they can be seen in the alpine areas in southwestern and northwestern regions including Tibet, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Gansu and Inner Mongolia.

The pilot national park covers an area of 50,200 square km, including 34,400 square km in Gansu Province and 15,800 square km in neighboring Qinghai Province.

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