Camera captures glowing eyes of "ghost cat"
A pair of glowing eyes were captured by a camera at the edge of Qilian Mountain, where no one lives. Nicknamed "ghost cat," the snow leopard is a mysterious feline endemic to Central and South Asia. 
A field observation team jointly established by Lanzhou University and Gansu Province's Anxi Extreme-arid Desert National Nature Reserve has recently announced that snow leopards were spotted in the nature reserve in Guazhou County, Jiuquan City, for the first time.
Like many mammals, the snow leopard's eyes have an additional layer located in the back of the eyes called the tapetum lucidum, which enables their eyes to reflect light in dark settings. 
A snow leopard on the snow. /VCG Photo

A snow leopard on the snow. /VCG Photo

The habitats of snow leopard are high mountains in a range of different elevations. In the Himalayas, they usually live between 3,000 to 5,400 above sea level; in Qilian Mountain, they occur between 4,100 to 4,500 meters while in Mongolia and Russia, they live between 1,000 to 2,000 meters. 
The snow leopard photos collected this time were taken at an elevation of 2,604 meters, at places midway up the mountain and at lower parts of the mountain on the northwestern edge of the Qilian Mountain and close to the alluvial fan-shaped plain desert in front of the mountain. 
In winter, snow leopard will go to lower altitude area for food. /VCG Photo

In winter, snow leopard will go to lower altitude area for food. /VCG Photo

The appearance of snow leopards at such a low altitude and mountain edge provides new scientific data on the current distribution of the species, which articulates the abundant food resources in the nature reserve as well as fewer cases of human interference than before. 
The monitoring mission inside the nature reserve has been carried out through a special project on biodiversity protection sponsored by Nanjing Institute of Environmental Science and the Ministry of Ecological Environment since 2017. 
(Cover image via VCG)
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