|Snow leopard in captivity UK - Photo by Daniel P Davis|
It is nice to know that there is something pure, natural and nice in Afghanistan. It sure as hell is not going to be human though!
Wildcats are not confined to national boundaries as are people. That applies to the snow leopard.
The distribution of the snow leopard is very large and the ranges of the individual snow leopards are the largest of all the wildcats. They can be over 1000 sq kilometers. They need a lot of space and have found it in northern Afghanistan where they have found a degree of isolation from the ever dangerous human.
Apparently they inhabit the Wakhan region. The isolation plus a reduction in poaching for their skins (thanks to good conservation) has resulted in a surviving population in the area.
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Snow leopards are very elusive too. It is hard to see them, to find them. It is almost impossible.
The information for the existence of this population of snow leopards in Afghanistan comes from camera traps. These are cameras that are automatically fired off by a passing animal. Clearly they have to be well positioned and lots of patience is required. Although a person does not have to be present at the site of the camera it can take a long time for that all important photographic evidence.
The Wildlife Conservation Society estimate that there are between 4,500 and 7,500 snow leopards left in the wild across 12 Asian countries. This is a decent number by wildcat standards but nothing in relation to human populations.
See Habitat of Snow Leopard for lots more.
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