Rare snow leopards photgraphed by World Wildlife Fund

In this Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 photo provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is a rare sighting of a snow leopard, known as Pantheria Uncia,as it is photographed by an infrared remote camera in the Kargil district of India's Jammu and Kashmir. One of the most endangered of the large cats, the snow leopard was historically found from Afghanistan in the west to India's Arunachal Pradesh in the east and as far north as Mongolia AP Photo/World Wildlife Fund

(AP) SRINAGAR, India - A pair of rare, reclusive snow leopards have been photographed wandering a remote, mountain region once ravaged by conflict between India and Pakistan.

Infrared camera traps set up months ago by World Wildlife Fund-India filmed the adult snow leopards in Kargil district just a few miles from the heavily militarized Line of Control that runs through the disputed territory of Kashmir.

WWF-India says it is the second photo sighting of endangered snow leopards in Kargil, after one was photographed hunting a herd of Asiatic Ibex in 2009.

The recent sighting has encouraged environmentalists as it suggests the big cats were not scared away from the Kargil mountains by the 1999 India-Pakistan conflict that killed hundreds of soldiers on both sides before a cease-fire was established with U.S. mediation.

Snow leopards are considered the most endangered of big cats and face threats from poaching, habitat loss and retaliatory killings by farmers for lost livestock.

They live in regions of extreme cold and harsh terrain and are difficult to study. Between 4,000 and 6,500 are believed left in the wild in the Himalayan regions of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Siberia, Mongolia, Pakistan and India.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.