A bright spot in lockdown: rare snow leopards stroll into Kazakh ...


A bright spot in lockdown: rare snow leopards stroll into Kazakh city

They’re rarely seen in the wild, never mind in cities, but the virus has opened a rare window for the elusive cats

Olzhas Auyezov

Several snow leopards, including a mother and her cub, have been spotted near the Kazakh city of Almaty wandering through a usually popular hiking destination that is now mostly off limits due to the coronavirus lockdown.

There are only about 150 snow leopards left in Kazakhstan, out of a global population of fewer than 10,000 across central and south Asia. Classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the big cats are rarely seen in the wild, let alone within city limits.

However, in the past few weeks at least three animals – a lone male and a female with a cub – were caught on film by a motion sensor-equipped camera trap installed near the Big Almaty Lake by an NGO set up to protect the species...

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