Video Of The Week - Snow Leopard Falls From The Edge Of A Mountain, And Survives!

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Snow leopard at Cincinnati Zoo (Photo Credit: Greg Hume (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

With their thick white-gray fur and black rings, snow leopards are often hard to see against the rugged mountains that they call home. However, a team of photographers that included Mike Birkhead, has managed to capture amazing footage of this elusive cat walking away unscathed, after tumbling off a steep cliff.

The film, shot in an undisclosed location in June 2017, shows the wild cat pacing along the edge of a mountain, when it suddenly loses its footing and falls from what appears to be a great height. While most animals would have not survived the impact, the leopard did not appear to be hurt. Birkhead, who posted the video on his Facebook page, says, "No one had seen anything like it. We watched [the leopard] for another 20 minutes as it walked across a snow face and then disappeared into a cave."

The snow leopard range in the mountains of Central Asia (Image Credit: Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program)

Experts are not sure how often the agile cats miss their footing. Officials at the Snow Leopard Conservancy say, “The snow leopard is an elusive species, very hard to find, very hard to film. To our knowledge there are no recorded statistics about frequency of falls. However, logic would say that they probably do fall from time to time, given the ruggedness of the environment."

Native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, snow leopards are solitary animals. The stealthy predators, which usually hunt at dawn and dusk, can kill animals up to three times their size and usually prey on herbivores like the bharal, or Himalayan blue sheep, Argali sheep and the Alpine ibex. Their short front limbs and longer hind ones allow the strong creatures to cover a distance of up to 30 feet (10-meters) in a single leap, while their long tail helps them balance in the rough, steep terrain.

Can you find the perfectly camouflaged snow leopard amidst the rocks? (Photo Credit: Snow Leopard Trust)

The magnificent animals, which have been on the endangered species list since 1972 were recently upgraded to the slightly better vulnerable status, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, Dr. Tom McCarthy, one of five experts who helped the organization decide on the change, says “[that] does not mean that snow leopards are 'safe' or that now is a time to celebrate. The species still faces 'a high risk of extinction in the wild', and is likely still declining - just not at the rate previously thought."

Resources: earthtouchnews.com,worldwildlife.org,facebook.com

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2435 Comments
  • andrewliu1003
    andrewliu1003Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 8:08 pm
    That must hurt 😞 !
    • andrewliu1003
      andrewliu1003Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 8:06 pm
      Wizard! I call that!
      • mattchien
        mattchienTuesday, June 29, 2021 at 4:10 am
        COOL BRO
        • bella513
          bella513Sunday, June 27, 2021 at 7:14 pm
          OMG Did you guys see when it fell off the cliff??? It was so scary, I feel so bad.
          • moly_2021
            moly_2021Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 1:02 am
            OMG! How frightening but I'm happy that he survived#Hooray for the cheat! Hip! Hip! Hooray! :)
            • melissa10
              melissa10Monday, May 24, 2021 at 12:43 pm
              OMG now way how sad that he fell but good thing he survived #cheetahlove *3
              • sunnyturtle
                sunnyturtleSaturday, May 22, 2021 at 10:35 am
                That was super scary! :(
                • leopardlover
                  leopardloverFriday, May 21, 2021 at 7:21 am
                  After all they are big cats and are very powerful and strong. So no doubt.
                  • cweimer0074
                    cweimer0074Monday, May 3, 2021 at 8:02 am
                    good that he is safe
                    • nightwaves
                      nightwavesThursday, April 15, 2021 at 8:48 am
                      Good he Survived!