WCP camera trap captures three Snow Leopards on the prowl

The brilliant trio

It is definitely in the wild that surprises await to astonish, and the latest camera trapping of three adult Snow Leopards captured in a single camera shot proved just that.

The Wangchuk Centennial Park (WCP) in Bumthang intended to carry out a prey-based survey which started from the last week of October 2011, for the snow leopard and set up 24 camera stations in different parts of the park areas.

When they went back to retrieve the equipment and checked the recordings, they found that 14 stations had captured exclusive pictures of the cats.

However, the survey team could not retrieve one of the camera stations which was installed at an elevation of 3975 meters above sea level. The camera remained in the forest for few more days.

The last camera under the central park range of the park justified its additional days in the forests when it captured the pictures of three adult Snow Leopards walking in a row.

The images of these three Snow Leopards prowling in a group were captured in three different occasions.  The camera hidden by the base of a tree-trunk first clicked the group on December 20 last year.

This group of snow leopard again happened to pass by the same camera three months later in March 10 and March 17 this year.

“Never have three snow leopards prowling together been captured, until now,” said a WCP official.

Snow leopards are usually solitary and nocturnal cats found above the tree line. Hence, it was very unusual to have an image captured of three together. It is even more unusual since sighting a snow leopard is rare within this habitat.

The forest officials were amazed to find that three adult Snow Leopards had been captured in a single frame when they retrieved the pictures from one of the camera traps.

Besides Snow Leopards, the last camera trap had also captured pictures of the Asiatic Black Bear, Himalayan Serow, Musk Deer, Tibetan Wolf and Red Fox.

More of such fantastic moments may be captured since the park management is planning a second phase of Snow Leopard camera trapping survey from November this year. This time around, it’ll however cover the remaining western parts of the park.

“With the second phase of camera trapping survey, we will be able to share more about the Snow Leopards’ presence, distribution and individuals in WCP,” said the park official.

Reports say that there are approximately 2,000 numbers of snow leopards in the world. Bhutan is one of the 12 countries in Asia that harbor the cats’ population in its natural habitat. It is also estimated that about 100-200 leopards are expected to survive in the wild.

 

The first phase of camera trapping for Snow Leopard was carried out from March 8 to June 4, this year.

The second phase of the survey to be started from November covering the remaining western part is expected to uncover more about the Snow Leopard’s presence, distribution and individuals in park.

The field survey was funded by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Bhutan Program.

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