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A Thriving Snow Leopard community has been discovered in war torn Afghanistan. A large and healthy population of this rare species has come to light in the mountainous region of the Wakhan Corridor. The discovery was made by a team of scientists who laid camera traps.
The world's most elusive big cat, the snow leopard, has been found flourishing in a remote mountainous region of Afghanistan. Thanks to the dedicated work of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) this rare species was discovered in the Wakhan Corridor between Tajikistan and Pakistan.
According to Joe Walston, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia Program, this was an unexpected discovery.
A team of Afghan nationals worked alongside foreign wildlife experts representing the WCS placing camera traps around local areas.
Sixteen of these produced the first camera trap photographs ever taken of the species in Afghanistan.
The sheer number of the animals came as a great surprise says Walston.
Walston added that the discovery was particularly gratifying since the snow leopard population is small.
Around 7,500 are scattered across a dozen Central Asian countries.
Walston, however, describes them as valuable predators controlling large populations of hoofed mammals which would otherwise overgraze delicate systems causing negative repercussions on livestock and communities.
The WCS is working with 55 communities across Afghanistan to educate locals on how to manage and monitor the snow leopard population as well as other species including Marco Polo Sheep and the Ibex.
Other initiatives include ways of predator-proofing livestock and enforcement of poaching laws.
Details of the work carried out by the WCS Research team appears in the Journal of Environmental Studies, published June 29th.