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Over 100 snow leopards living near Urumqi: wildlife watchers

(Xinhua)    08:14, May 08, 2017

A snow leopard spotted in Urumqi (file photo/Chinanews.com)

URUMQI, May 7 (Xinhua) -- More than 100 snow leopards are estimated to be living in mountainous areas east and south of Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Staff with Wildlife Xinjiang, a non-governmental organization, studied about 10,000 photos taken by infrared cameras and identified 30 snow leopards, said Xing Rui, head of Wildlife Xinjiang.

The organization estimates the total number of snow leopards in the area is more than 100, said Xing.

Starting in 2014, cameras were deployed over a 100-kilometer area in mountain areas south of Urumqi.

"Photos have captured these animals seeking food and roaming around. Some show snow leopard mothers taking their cubs to look for water," said Xing.

"There is a remarkable concentration of snow leopards here," Xing said.

Snow leopards are endangered species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They live in the Himalayas of central and south Asia at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,500 meters. They have been spotted in China's Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan and Xinjiang.

According to Wildlife Xinjiang, compared to those living on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, snow leopards living in the Tianshan mountain are active in a smaller area due to the harsh environment.

The mountainous area near Urumqi may be one of the main habitats for snow leopards, Xing said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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