In­frared cam­era cap­tures rare leop­ard

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA in Xin­ing

Footage of a rare-North-Chi­nese leop­ard in the Tong­tian River basin was cap­tured for the first time in the north­west­ern prov­ince of Qing­hai, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal forestry bureau on Mon­day.

The im­ages were cap­tured by an in­frared cam­era in­stalled as part of a bio­di­ver­sity mon­i­tor­ing project on the head­wa­ters of the Yangtze River in the prov­ince’s Yushu Ti­betan au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture late last month.

Be­sides the North-Chi­nese leop­ard, 12 snow leop­ards have been spot­ted so far this year.

The-North-Chi­nese leop­ard is a Class-A pro­tected an­i­mal, and is clas­si­fied as “en­dan­gered” by the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture due to loss of habi­tat and poach­ing.

It is sim­i­lar in size to the Amur leop­ard, and has darker fur than other sub­species.

The new ev­i­dence ex­tends the recorded range of North-Chi­nese leop­ards in China, in­di­cat­ing a healthy lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment, ac­cord­ing to Wen Cheng, head of a con­ser­va­tion cen­ter in Bei­jing and leader of the mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram.

As leop­ards are soli­tary, ex­cept for mat­ing pairs, the con­se­quences of habi­tat over­lap be­tween snow leop­ards and North-Chi­nese leop­ards re­main to be seen, Wen added.

The mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram, sup­ported by lo­cal gov­ern­ments and con­ser­va­tion cen­ters across China, cov­ers an area of 400 square kilo­me­ters around the Tong­tian River basin.

Sam­bar deer and wild boars have also been seen dur­ing the pro­gram.

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