New round of survey on snow leopard kicks off in NW China

Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve launched a snow leopard population survey on October 15 to grasp their latest numbers and range within the reserve, in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Following the suggestion of the Population Assessment of the World's Snow Leopards (PAWS), the reserve's staff members conducted an in-depth investigation of the reserve. They identified seven survey sites, selected 25 five-kilometer grids in each site, and set up one or two infrared cameras in each grid.

The staff members hike up to about 200 kilometers every day to place and retrieve the cameras. Uliji, one of the staff members, has been working on the monitoring work of snow leopards for 10 years.

"The snow leopard survey is a very tough task. They live at high altitudes of 3,500 to 4,500 meters, which makes the research arduous. Over 10 years of monitoring together with Beijing Forestry University, we've determined that their population in the Yanchiwan Reserve is between 134 and 157," said Uliji.

The snow leopard is a rare species under first-class state protection in China. In 2015, recommended by delegates from 12 snow leopard range countries, non-governmental organizations and scientists, 23 snow leopard landscapes were identified for prioritized conservation, including Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve in northwest China's Gansu Province, Tomur Peak and Tashkurgan National Nature Reserve in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

(All images via VCG)

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