In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, one of the rarest animals on the planet was captured at just a short distance away.
The world has been paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic, which we’re all going through as a society. The message has been for everyone to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus. Thus, many places have been completely depopulated, and the animals have noticed this.
Thousands of images have circulated of different species returning to places which they couldn’t previously enter due to the threat of human beings. This time, it was an endangered species’ turn to come out, one that hadn’t been seen for a long time before today, in a park in Russia. The snow leopard is taking over the world.
The absence of humans has allowed us to observe things that would generally be quite unusual, such as what was seen in Sailugem National Park, located in southern Russia. Here, the snow leopard appeared just a few meters away from a photographer.
The imposing animal was photographed 20 meters away by researcher Aleksey Kuzhlekov, who’s part of the «Conservation of Biological Diversity and Development of Ecological Tourism» Ecology program, a Russian project.
The researcher told us, through a Facebook post, that he was able to record a video of a female snow leopard with a mobile phone camera (…) “Suddenly, a female snow leopard appeared in front of me from behind a rock. We looked at each other with almost expressionless looks. I stopped stoned, trying not to move to avoid scaring her.»
“For a few seconds, they looked at each other. I carefully raised the camera and began taking photos. Of course, I realized that something incredible was happening: to see a snow leopard four times in three days, to be able to take photos and videos, this is even more than I dreamed of accomplishing for almost 10 years,» added Kuzhlekov about the exciting moment.
According to the UN, in October 2019, «The snow leopard, nicknamed ‘the mountain ghost’, is in danger and needs urgent protection. There are only 4,000 to 7,500 specimens left in the world” and we already know that one of them is in this park in Russia.
The Altai Project, which protects natural landscapes and wildlife in Russia, noted that some snow leopard (Panthera uncia) researchers believe that, as of 2019, there were around 100 specimens left in this sector.
What do we know about the snow leopard?
According to the Altai Project, this animal is referred to as a predator, but it plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of the region, which ranges from large mammals to grasses and even rodents.
Since 1998, the organization has made great efforts to preserve the species through actions such as prohibiting poaching of the species. However, snow leopard specimens are generally found outside protected areas.
What a beautiful image quarantine has given us!