Snow leopard caught in camera trap (Photo: WWF-India)

In India’s east, just north of Calcutta, there’s a piece of the country that slips in between Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. This is where Assam tea is grown, and where, between Nepal and Bhutan, an area called Sikkim goes up into the Himalayas. 

There, yak herders have reported seeing snow leopards–not always a welcome sight, as they sometimes prey on livestock. Not much is known about the range of snow leopards in this area, in part because the mountainous terrain makes them hard to track. But WWF-India set up a camera trap pilot project there, and for the first time, captured direct evidence of snow leopards’ presence.

Hey there (Photo: WWF-India)

Now that’s it’s clear the snow leopards are there, the conservation organization is expanding its camera trap project, which will run through 2017, to help map the snow leopards’ range and learn more about its wild prey. Snow leopards are endangered, and these camera traps are part of WWF-India’s long term goal of developing a conservation plan for the cats that takes climate change into account. 

As rare as it is to see one of these cats, they’re still out there in the mountains, for now.

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