LE LEOPARD DES NEIGES TIBETAIN REVIENT EN FORCE, Y COMPRIS EN VILLE. WantChinaTimes, ce jour (dépêche Xinhua). "Frequent sightings in Qinghai give hope for endanfered snow leopard".
Rare footage of a snow leopard wandering down the main street of county town in northwest China's Qinghai province may offer a sign of recovery for the endangered species.
The video clip was captured Saturday by Sangdru, a villager in Zadoi county in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture. "I was driving home from work when I saw the large white cat with black spots strolling around the road," Sangdru said. Local authorities later confirmed the animal to be a snow leopard.
The 34-second video, shot from close distance, shows the snow leopard moving casually along the road, unaware of car headlights and people shouting. Sangdru and other villagers then used their cars to herd the snow leopard into a nearby forest.
"It's not the first time we have seen a snow leopard," a witness told Xinhua.
As one of the most endangered species in the world, snow leopards have been spotted three times this year in Nangchen, another county in Yushu, with one wandering into a cattle yard.
"It seems the snow leopard is enjoying the sunshine at that moment," said Wang Dongmei of Yushu's Cultural Affairs Bureau.
Snow leopards are usually found on the Qinhai-Tibet and Pamir plateaus at altitudes over 3,500 meters but have rarely been seen in the wild since 1980s due to loss of habitat and poaching. It is estimated that there are fewer than 5,000 snow leopards in the wild, making it an endangered species.
"Snow leopards in China account for nearly 40% of the total number in the world," said Liu Yanlin from the Shanshui Conservation Center, an environmental protection NGO. "The frequent appearance of snow leopards in Yushu shows its numbers are increasing."
At the International Snow Leopard Forum held in Yushu this July, experts from a range of countries said they believe Yushu now has the largest number of snow leopards in the world.
However, with its frequent appearances, cases of livestock injuries and deaths have been reported. The local government has since worked with herdsman to show them how to protect against the leopards and has began offering livestock insurance and compensation.
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