Saturday, 17 June 2017

Snow Leopards -- Charismatic Felines of Russia's Altai Mountains

Introduction :

The Snow Leopard is so "Rare and Elusive" that its often known as a 'Ghost' that moves between Mountain Range and Mountain Range.

But, in the Altai Mountains in Southern Siberia one often comes across this Magnificent and Beautiful Big Cat Predator.

In Sailyugem National Park in Russia's Altai Republic -- Camera Traps that are sophisticated and modern are keeping track of these wild cats.

These Camera Traps are installed on Ridges where these beautiful cats can often be seen travelling for prey such as Ibex and Musk Deer.

In Sailyugem National Park, Snow Leopards are found in inaccessible and remote cliffs where winter temperatures can plunge to 45 degrees below zero.

Camera Traps help Scientists and Biologists identify single snow leopards from their unique system of Rosettes on their grey fur.

The Snow Leopard is venerated as an animal sent by God by the simple people of the Altai Republic.

Snow Leopard Paintings and Engravings can be found all over the mountainous areas of the Altai Republic.

In Russia, an estimated 70-90 Snow Leopards are thought to exist in the wild specially in and around cliffs and ridges in Southern Siberia.

Snow Leopards live in remote parts of Russia untouched by Man and His Destructive Developer Ways.

Snow Leopards in Southern Siberia face a multitude of threats today.

The most important being 'Poaching' for their skins and bones which are most desired in Far East Traditional Medicine.

Zero Tolerance towards poaching of Snow Leopards must be observed.

Conclusion :

To ensure, a healthy population of Snow Leopards in Russia -- We must first ensure that they have a good "Prey Base" most notably Ibex, Musk Deer, and Argali.

These are Antelopes/Mountain Sheep/Mountain Goats that provide a regular meal for Snow Leopards -- "Rain or Shine".

Credits :

1) Russia's Rare Snow Leopards find protection in Camera Traps by Alec Luhn
       The Guardian Newspaper, March 2017

2)  Stunning Rare Footage reveals Elusive Snow Leopards
        National Geographic, April 2017
       


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