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First Pictures of Kyrgyzstan’s Snow Leopards

Snow Leopard Trust scientists recently recovered their first research camera photos of Kyrgyzstan’s wild snow leopards. The pictures are the result of a test study they carried out last fall. Now, they’re ready to scale up and launch the largest ever research camera survey on snow leopards in the Central Asian republic.

Here are some of our first wild snow leopard photos from Kyrgyzstan:

 

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The goal of the planned survey is come up with a robust estimate of the snow leopards population within specific landscapes in Kyrgyzstan, and to identify key areas for their protection. While there have been a few smaller, isolated camera studies in Kyrgyzstan before, this in an unprecedented effort in terms of scale. Thanks to the generosity of many partners and individual snow leopard supporters, we have managed to raise funds for a total of 40 research cameras; the absolute minimum for a robust study.

Last fall, our team in Kyrgyzstan used the first 10 cameras they received to lay the groundwork for the upcoming survey. Led by Kyrgyzstan Program Director Kuban Jumabai Uulu, the team ran a first series of tests, deploying the 10 cameras in the main valley of the Sarychat-Ertash Nature reserve, testing out settings such as exposure and sensitivity; and ideal camera locations, such as ledges.

“Our main goal was to learn how to best use the cameras”, Kuban says, “not necessarily to get great photos”. But when Kuban and his colleagues retrieved the cameras after a couple of weeks, they were in for a pleasant surprise: Seven of the ten cameras had captured snow leopard photos; most of them crisp and clear and some simply stunning!

Now, with all the necessary tests carried out, Kuban and his team are just waiting for some of the snow to melt, so they can get started with their big camera study – which should yield even more amazing photos!

 

Janet Grossman says:

what beautiful creatures!!

February 6, 2014, 10:22 am

Sherry Lawson says:

Magnificent, beautiful creatures! Thank you so much.

February 6, 2014, 12:57 pm

Max Day says:

They are so beautiful.

February 6, 2014, 5:10 pm

Teresa Lopes says:

I am in awe of their beauty! Thank you so much for sharing.

February 6, 2014, 6:56 pm

Guenwyvar says:

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES ! PLEASE KEEP THEM SAFE !!

February 6, 2014, 10:13 pm

Stephen says:

Looks like a successful test indeed! Very cool, can’t wait to see more.

February 7, 2014, 1:40 am

Janet Patlow says:

Fascinating, that you could get these photos!

February 7, 2014, 5:38 am

Debbie Jones says:

The most beautiful of all the Wonderful Big Cats. So full of grace. Great Job to the team that placed the cameras, Thank You!!

February 7, 2014, 8:09 am

NJ Cat Lover says:

I am proud to be supporting this effort with my donations!

February 7, 2014, 8:41 am

Ella Maclean says:

I like the snow leopards because they are cute and fluffy. I have been sponsoring them for two years. From Ella aged 7.

February 7, 2014, 2:16 pm

Sibylle Noras says:

Great news for the country that was instrumental in the first ever Global Snow Leopard Forum held in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, last year. This work will help Kyrgyzstan get a good understanding of its snow leopard numbers and the challenges the cats face there.

February 7, 2014, 4:53 pm

Sibylle Noras says:

One more thing – well done Kuban and team!!

February 7, 2014, 8:05 pm

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