New snow leopard population discovered in Afghanistan

A healthy population of snow leopards has been discovered in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) used hidden cameras to document the elusive creatures at 16 different locations across a large area of landscape. The images captured are the first record of the presence of snow leopards in the country.

The study found that the animals remain threatened in the region because of illegal poaching for pelts and for the illegal pet trade. In response WCS has developed a set of conservation initiatives including partnerships with local communities, ranger training and education.

Snow leopard populations have declined globally by 20% over the last 16 years, according to reports and are now classed as an endangered species, although up to 7,500 are thought to remain in the wild scattered across central Asia.