Team climbs mountains to protect snow leopards

  Submitted by Kun Shi

    Eco-Bridge Continental

Photo: Two snow leopards walk past a camera trap as they cross a mountain range in Qilianshan National Park.

The diverse, natural landscape of the Eastern Tibetan gorge is an important habitat for snow leopards in China.

However, the snow leopard is endangered, affected by habitat loss, climate change, human-wildlife conflict and the illegal wildlife trade.

Eco-Bridge Continental (EBC) and the Wildlife Institute, Beijing Forestry University have been carrying out snow leopard survey in China for over 10 years, covering all key habitat areas for this animal in the region. Recently, they recorded their work in Menyuan Region (Qinghai Province), and Mount Bujia (Tibet Province), to show that the protection of snow leopards and their habitat require persistence and efforts of the most basic level.

Qinghai Province is home to one of the best snow leopard protection projects in China. The province has a complete system, and the station owners have grown from ordinary forest rangers to today’s herder scientists. They have long been at the forefront of snow leopard protection.

The EBC team set up their first remote infrared camera on the snow peak of Gangška in May 2020. In October 2020, they captured their journey on camera as they retrieved data from some of the most remote parts of the snow mountains. What would they find?

In the Mount Bujia area, the EBC team is conducting faecal DNA analysis and set up 160 remote camera traps, hoping to collect valuable scientific evidence, including the population structure and genetic diversity of snow leopards in the study area.

Follow Dr. Yu as she goes up the stunning Bujia Snow Mountain during the day and connects to the 2G network at night to report on her progress. This short film about the snow leopard survey was premiered at the International Snow Leopard Day on October 23, 2020.

In this second video, Xiao Gong, Yibin and Xuehan of the Field Investigation Team of Beijing Forestry University and EBC head out to retrieve the cameras in Qilianshan National Park.

Click here to learn more about the snow leopard.


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