Infrared camera captures rare leopard
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.