Saturday, September 11, 2010

The snow leopards of Russia

In March of 2010 Russian scientist decided that they would install special video cameras, otherwise known as "photo traps", to monitor the endangered snow leopards of Siberia. These are one of the most elusive of all the big cats. These mountain cats can weight up to 165 pounds, their should height can come up to 60 cm, and they have the longest tail of all the big cats (their tail helps them chase their prey up the steep mountains).
The Photo traps have a sensory device that activates as the animal walks toward it. The Russian scientist are hoping that the photo traps will help them identify how many of the red book endangered species are left in the area. And this method has been used before in Russia. Russian sceintist in the Far East used photo traps to Monitor Russia's Far East Leopard. The camera shots will also help scientist identify each individual snow leopard ( each snow leopard has a unique fur pattern). Not only will these cameras be able to estimate the amount of big cats in the area, but they will also allow scientist to track these big cats.
Several photo traps have already been set up in the Altai mountains and eleven more are to be installed soon.
* The youtube video is about snow leopards in Northern India, but has a great example of photo traps that the Russian scientist will be using.

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