The first ever close-up images of a snow leopard captured by WWF Russia expert in the wild by an ordinary camera
The stunning images of an elusive snow leopard, an iconic species of big cats, captured in the Republic of Altai, Russia, are the sensation for Russian conservationists. The photos of snow leopards in the wild had never been captured in Russia before from such a short distance.
A snow leopard female peers back curiously at a scientist. Then she lies down pretending she is safe between the rocks almost invisible due to her fantastic fur camouflage. Alexey Kuzhlekov, WWF Russia expert and a scientist of Sailugemsky national park took these pictures and video of the male and female snow leopard on Friday, March, 27, the first in his ten-year-long professional journey to study and save the rare cat from extinction. Sailugemsky national park is used to study the snow leopards by the images of the automatic cameras registered with no human close by. This time the scientists have a chance to look at animals who looked back at them back from a distance of 20 metres.
Footage of a female snow leopard taken by Alexey Kuzhlekov
Alexey also took a picture of a male sitting on an opposite rock but the images did not come out well. In 2019 WWF Russia made a video about Alexey tracking the snow leopard but he couldn’t see him. This year his dream came true. Alexey is a professional biologist, born and raised in Altai. He has worked for 10 years in the field of snow leopard survey and conservation. This pictures are not a lucky coincidence but a comprehensive and persuasive work of a professional scientists.
The pictures were taken during the annual snow leopard census in Russia initiated and supported by WWF Russia and World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness corporation. WWF experts claim that seeing a snow leopard from such a short distance is a good sign.
Wide –scale snow leopard census in 2020 srated in mid-February in the republics of Altai, Tyva and Buryatia, key snow leopard habitats in Russia. The participants follow the regulations of the Snow leopard monitoring programme developed by WWF Russia in 2016 and use the mobile application developed in 2019.