Once every years is about right. Tibetan wildlife photographer Matse Rangja has been trying to get shots of the elusive snow leopard for the better part of a decade, and finally, thanks to a remote camera, he did, in the Burhan Budai Mountains of China’s northwest Qinghai Province.
“I make notice of the footprints and excrement of snow leopards when I’m on a picture trip,” he told NTD TV. “And if I find the footprints, I will hide my camera nearby.”
The big cats are rare and aren’t getting any less so. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which has listed the snow leopard as “endangered” since 1986, there are estimated to be just 4,000 to 6,500 worldwide.
“Snow leopards are suspected to have declined by at least 20 percent over the past two generations (16 years),” IUCN says, “due to habitat and prey base loss, and poaching and persecution. Losses to poaching were most severe in the former Russian republics in the 1990s. While conditions have improved there, poaching and illegal trade is likely to continue in large parts of snow leopard range given growing demand from China.”