Infrared cameras have captured images and videos of a snow leopard in the Wolong National Nature Reserve. (Photo/China News Service)
Infrared cameras have captured images and videos of a snow leopard in the Wolong National Nature Reserve, the reserve's management authorities said.
It is the first time a snow leopard was spotted in the core habitat of the giant pandas in the reserve.
The big cat was captured in 12 photos and two videos in early June by two infrared cameras, about 3,300 meters above sea level in the wild, the authorities said Friday.
According to Li Sheng, a researcher with the School of Life Sciences at Peking University, snow leopards are alpine species mainly living at an elevation of between 3,500 and 4,400 meters, while pandas usually live in forests lower than 3,500 meters in altitude.
"Their habitats might overlap in areas with an altitude of 3,000 to 4,000 meters," said Li.
Experts gave two explanations to the appearance of the snow leopard. One is that the leopard was in the middle of a migration, and the other is that the big cat accidentally entered the forest while hunting.
"There should be no face-to-face encounter between the two species, given that the snow leopard only stayed in the area for less than 24 hours," said Duan Zhaogang with the reserve's administration bureau.