Wednesday, September 28, 2022

WWF releases rare video of a Snow Leopard hunting an Ibex

The snow leopard hunting video was shot near the Pak-China border

World Wildlife Day released rare footage of a snow leopard hunting a Himalayan ibex in Khunjerab National Park, a few kilometers from the Pak-China border.

The once-in-a-lifetime footage shows a snow leopard hunting the Ibex, moving stealthily. The leopard is then shown feasting on the prey as two other cats join him.

According to Muhammad Osama, the photographer who captured the video, he followed the ibex herd in the brutal cold with the temperature as mercury dropping as low as minus 18 degrees Celcius while searching for fresh snow leopard pugmarks, which eventually confirmed the presence of leopards in the area.

“Capturing this hunt was once in a lifetime experience as it involved hours of tireless tracking, climbing mountains, and withstanding freezing cold temperatures”, the photographer said. 

“The video shows the elusive cat in its natural habitat hunting for prey, indicating a healthy and thriving ecosystem that supports large populations of Himalayan ibex and snow leopards in the area” says WWF-Pakistan statement issued on World Wildlife Day 2021. The snow leopard spotting “is an encouraging sign, indicating that apex predators such as the snow leopard have enough food to survive on”.

Snow leopards play a key role as a top predator and are also an indicator of the health of their high-altitude habitat. “If snow leopards thrive so will countless other species, as well as the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on the rivers flowing down from Central Asia’s mountains,” according to WWF.

WWF-Pakistan Director-General Hammad Naqi Khan hoped that the video will create awareness about the amazing wildlife present in Pakistan. He also stressed the importance to protect it. He also shared that many species in Pakistan, and globally, face mounting threats due to deforestation and human encroachment As a result, the survival of wildlife such as the snow leopard, Indus River dolphin, common leopard, pangolins, brown bear, and white-backed vultures hangs in the balance. Prior to filming the snow leopard hunt, in January 2021, WWF-Pakistan’s filming crew also filmed a herd of 50 Himalayan ibex near Passu Glacier in Hunza Valley.

WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 shows that in less than 50 years, human activity has resulted in wildlife populations plummeting by an average of 68% worldwide. If serious efforts are not made, some of these animals will head to extinction in the near future. With wildlife constituting a critical part of the ecosystem, this biodiversity loss will result in a planet that cannot support current and future generations of people.

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