Photo taken on Oct. 22, 2017 shows two snow leopard cubs at Three-river-source National Park in northwest China's Qinghai Province. [Photo/Xinhua]
An infrared camera has captured rare images of two snow leopards mating in Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve in northwest China's Qinghai Province, the provincial forestry and grassland bureau said Friday.
Two videos, which show the process of courtship and mating of two snow leopards at the same location but at different times within 12 hours, were recorded in February by monitoring cameras installed for an investigation into the biodiversity around the source of the Yellow River.
In the footage, the two snow leopards rolled over, played, chased each other and mated while roaring.
"It is rare to see the mating of snow leopards around the origin of the Yellow River. The images are very valuable for researching snow leopards' behavior and reproductive activities," said Ngawang from the provincial Yuanshangcao conservation center.
The investigation on biodiversity was jointly launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Yuanshangcao nature conservation center and the Three-River-Source National Park in 2018. So far, a total of 941 videos have been recorded. Snow leopards were captured by the cameras on 29 occasions.
Apart from snow leopards, other rare wild animals including blue sheep, red foxes, Tibetan foxes and manul, were also captured by the infrared cameras, said He Bing, snow leopard project manager for the WWF.
The snow leopard is a Class-A protected animal in China and the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies it as endangered-to-vulnerable. They live in the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia at altitudes of 2,500 to 4,500 meters, with 60 percent of their habitat in China.