LANZHOU -- Infrared cameras in a nature reserve of Northwest China's Gansu province have captured over 60 images of snow leopards during the second half of 2018.
The Yanchiwan nature reserve is located at the western part of the Qilian Mountains. Staff at the reserve recently collected videos and photos caught by 50 infrared cameras. Some snow leopards were caught walking alone, urinating on rocks, and running through the rain.
"Based on these images, we can conclude that the area has a certain number of snow leopards, but the exact population is yet to be calculated," said Ulgi, an official with the reserve.
The cameras also caught images of bears, foxes, white-lipped deer and blue sheep. More than 3,000 photos and video clips were collected in total. "The material helps the study of biodiversity in the area," said Ulgi.
In April 2018, a snow leopard protection program was jointly initiated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the management bureau of the Yanchiwan reserve. The 50 infrared cameras were set up under this cooperation.
The reserve has installed a total of 234 infrared cameras to observe the activities of snow leopards in an area covering 3,075 square kilometers.
Snow leopards are a Class A protected animal in China and are classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They live in the Himalayas in central and south Asia at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,500 meters.