Following up on exciting discoveries in war-torn Afghanistan like a stunning natural bridge and the "world's least-known bird species", the Wildlife Conservation Society has used camera traps to identify a healthy population of snow leopards in the Wakhan Corridor. THe corridor is the sliver of territory extending toward China from Afghanistan's northeast.
The subject of a great poem by William Matthews, snow leopards are found throughout Asia, but are suffering from both longterm decline and a more recent decline of 20% in population in just 16 years. The species is considered critically endangered, and no more than 7,500 are believed to survive in the wild. These are the first camera-trap images of the big cats ever taken in Afghanistan.
"This is a wonderful discovery it shows that there is real hope for snow leopards in Afghanistan," said Peter Zahler, deputy director of Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia programs. "Now our goal is to ensure that these magnificent animals have a secure future as a key part of Afghanistans natural heritage."
Snow leopards are endangered by not only the war that has raged for decades, but also by poaching for pelts, killing by shepherds and capturing for the illegal pet trade. Wildlife Conservation Society is leading efforts to preserve the animals by working with international organizations and local communities.
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