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article imageSnow leopards thrive in Bhutan

By Amanda Payne     Feb 15, 2012 in Environment
Snow leopards, which are among the world's most endangered species, have been caught on camera in the remote country of Bhutan as part of a survey by the government of Bhutan and the WWF.
Cameras placed in the Wangchuck Centennial Park took around ten thousand pictures of the beautiful animals during October and November 2011, according to a report on Feb. 15 in the Daily Telegraph.
The video clips show encouraging signs that there are breeding pairs in the tiny country, set high up in the Himalayan mountains. The rare animals have suffered greatly due to poaching and being killed by herders who see them as a threat to their animals. Global warming is also a factor in the decline in numbers. The report says that there are an estimated 4,500 to 7,500 snow leopards left in the wild.
The WWF website says that there is a lot to do to help the animals and keep them safe:
"The first ever snow leopard prey survey in Wangchuck Centennial Park, Bhutan’s newest national park, has revealed not only astonishing footage of snow leopards but a healthy population of blue sheep, the main food source for the leopards, as well as images of the Tibetan wolf, wild dog, red fox, Himalayan serow, musk deer, pika, pheasants and several birds of prey."
The survey was important as, because they are so elusive, it is difficult to track the movements of snow leopards and to accurately count how many animals are still in the wild. The WWF says that this is the first time that the government of Bhutan has allowed another entity to look after a protected area.
Bhutan is on the southern slopes of the Eastern Himalayas between Tibet and India. Its remoteness has kept its cultural heritage and way of life safe with tourists only recently being allowed to visit Bhutan.
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