Camera trap spots snow leopard family on a walk

Camera trap spots snow leopard family on a walk

12 November 2020

A scientific expedition completed a regular check of motion-sensor camera traps installed in the snow leopard habitat in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve. During the check, experts retrieved new photos and footage of the female snow leopard SL_15 and her cubs. The growing cubs continue to explore the world around them.


The first photos of the female and her two cubs, received in early October, show the cubs staying near their mother and following her trail closely.


In the new photos and videos, the cubs are much braver. At this age, they can accompany their mother on a hunt to learn how to track down prey, sneak up and attack. The young snow leopards are curious, playful and interested in the world around them. They broke one camera trap by attacking it, and changed the position of another one by sniffing and biting it. The footage also shows the cubs attacking their mother and each other while honing their hunting skills during a game.


The female calms down the cubs and remains cautious while walking with her offspring mainly at dusk. The leopard family stays in a relatively small part of their range, without moving far. It is noteworthy that in October and November researchers regularly see several large herds of Siberian ibex of 40 to 90 goats in this area, which indicates an abundance of food for the snow leopards.


In addition to the unique pictures of the female with her cubs, researchers also found fresh snow leopard tracks.


“There was a little snow last night, and in the morning, we set out on our route. When going up to the camera traps, we found snow leopard paw prints, large and small. Perhaps a family of snow leopards came past before us. In addition to the tracks, we could see that cubs were playing there: it looked like they were rolling in the snow during their morning walk,” researchers said.


Experts will continue to monitor the growing group of snow leopards in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve. The next expeditions will provide new information about how the snow leopard family lives.

4 photos
1 video