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Snow leopard Uzbekistan: Rare leopard reveals new evidence of big cats in area

Snow leopard Uzbekistan: Rare leopard reveal new evidence of big cats in region
Snow leopard Uzbekistan: Rare leopard reveal new evidence of big cats in region
YouTube Media Screenshot, RFerl.org

A snow leopard Uzbekistan sighting is causing both animal experts and big cat lovers around the world to relish the very first photos ever of these feline predators being found in the Central Asian country. A team of environmentalists conducting research in Uzbekistan were able to recently capture two clear photos of the leopards on film. RFERL News reports this Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, why this discovery is important and what has likely happened to these rare animals since then.

The snow leopard Uzbekistan evidence is being seen as a breakthrough for environmentalists studying these big, beautiful, but dangerous cats. The source site confirms that the pair of images constitutes the very first concrete proof of these endangered big cats living in the Asian country area, further west of their natural habitat than expected.

According to WWF conservations groups and the Panthera organization, the two snow leopards were officially caught on cameras situated in the Hissar Nature Reserve of Uzbekistan towards the end of 2013. As cited by the experts, these rare animals "adept experts at navigating the steep and rocky alpine regions of Central Asia... and are almost instantly recognizable by [their] long tail and almost-white coat, spotted with large black rosettes," offers WWF Global.

Unfortunately, finds like the recent snow leopard Uzbekistan case are growing more and more uncommon in the area because these big cats are becoming greater victims of human hunting and subsequent habitat loss. Wildlife experts WWF and Panthera added:

“In November and December of 2013, a team of rangers and biologists led by Bakhtiyor Aromov and Yelizaveta Protas, in collaboration with global wild cat conservation organization, Panthera, and WWF Central Asia Program, conducted a snow leopard camera trap study in the Kizilsu area of Gissar Nature Reserve, on the border of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Images taken through the study have confirmed the presence of at least two individual snow leopards in the region, along with other large predators – lynx and bear – and an abundance of prey animals, including ibex, wild boar, and hare.”

Along with the pair of images capturing the two snow leopards, other photos from the study confirmed the presence of other important animals in the natural ecosystem, including predators and prey: hares, wild boars, big cats, and ibex. The statement concluded that the presence of the snow leopards in the western areas of their Uzbekistan habitat brings hope that the species may have greater range than expected and offer “a greater hope for survival in the wild.”