Cameras at Ukok Plateau in Altai record female snow leopard with two cubs

Cameras at Ukok Plateau in Altai record female snow leopard with two cubs

2 November 2017

Camera traps at the Ukok Quiet Zone nature park have recorded a female snow leopard with two cubs.


“It is always a big event to see a rare predator first, especially at Ukok where cameras have never been installed,” said Alexei Kuzhlekov, a researcher at Sailyugem National Park. “We pinned big hopes on this area (we never make public the exact place) – in summer, we discovered scratch marks – and they have justified themselves.”


He said that the photos suggest the cubs are about six months old. Kuzhlekov also said it was common for snow leopards to have two cubs: there are normally one to three cubs in a litter.


There have been regular reports of snow leopard tracks at the Ukok Plateau in the south of the Altai Republic on the borders of Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Russia. However, scientists did not have accurate information about whether these predators actually lived on the plateau. During their expedition in July-August 2017, experts set up 10 camera traps along the Russian-Mongolian and the Russian-Kazakh borders.


Identification data on new animals will be entered into the Snow Leopard online database, a unique electronic database of all known snow leopards in Russia.


According to the latest count held in winter 2017, Russia has about 70-90 snow leopards, with 50 of them confirmed by motion sensor cameras. In Altai, there are about 30 snow leopards, including 15 in Sailyugem National Park.