Snow leopard photographed in Chindu County, Qinghai

2018-11-09 15:02:00 | From:China Tibet Online

On November 5, a county official from Chindu County, Yushu Prefecture in Qinghai Province confirmed that on the night of November 4, a video that was circulated online of a snow leopard “walking down the street” was taken in Chenwen Town, Chindu County. This is the first time that snow leopard has been recorded in a more populated area in the Tongtian River Basin, the source of the Yangtze River.

According to Karma Gyurmey, who shot the video, the video was taken while on his way home around 23:16 at night on November 4 near the Bus Terminal in Chindu County Town.

Staff at the Environmental Protection and Forestry Bureau of Chindu County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province are looking at the traces of snow leopards.

“In recent years, snow leopards have started to appear in areas with larger populations. There have been many instances of snow leopards ‘going into the city’ in the Lancang River Source Area,” Zhao Xiang, director of the Sanjiangyuan(source of the Lancang River, Yellow River and Yangtze River) Project at the Shanshui Nature Reserve Center and long-time researcher of snow leopards in Qinghai, said. “Snow leopards are solitary animals. The scope of their normal hunting, mating, and breeding activities ranges from 20 to hundreds of square kilometers. Although snow leopards have been recorded in Chindu County, the status of their population needs to be investigated further.” 

Xiao Lingyun, Ph.D., of the Center for Nature Conservation and Social Development at Peking University, said that Chindu County is one of the most densely populated areas in Yushu Prefecture. Snow leopards appearing in human settlements shows that there is less threat of poaching in this area and that the snow leopards are not afraid of humans. However, it may also be evidence of a lack of food caused by recent snowfall.

Chindu County is located in the eastern part of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province and sits at an average elevation of over 4,000 meters. The landform here consists of high mountains, lakes, shrubbery, and grasslands, as well as the main stream of Tongtian River. The region is an important wild animal migration corridor of the Sanjiangyuan Area. From 2016 to 2017, many rare and endemic species such as snow leopards, leopards, and desert cats were recorded along the banks of the Tongtian River.

Tsechung, director of the Environmental Protection and Forestry Bureau of Chindu County, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province, said that after receiving the report that a snow leopard had been seen in the vicinity of the county town on the night of November 4, he checked with the Forestry Public Security Department to take protective measures in the area where traces of the snow leopard were found. No reports of snow leopard attacks on humans or livestock have been received thus far.

Snow leopards are known as the “barometers for the health of high-altitude ecosystems”. They were listed as an endangered species in the 1996 China Red Book of Endangered Animals. China currently has the largest distribution of snow leopards in the world with 60 percent of snow leopards’ habitat.

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