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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2412 Comments
  • therealusername
    therealusernameWednesday, January 13, 2021 at 9:13 am
    How do you survive that!? It even hit it's head off a rock.
    • yourself10
      yourself10Friday, January 1, 2021 at 4:28 pm
      That is really sad that must have hurt that an animal😭😭😭😭
      • derthvader3
        derthvader3Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 6:05 am
        That’s insane did you see it spun it’s tail to slow drag then locked it’s and landed on its feet
        • kittyfan12376
          kittyfan12376Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 8:09 am
          poor snow leopard i meanthis is a cat
          • therealsnakes
            therealsnakesWednesday, November 25, 2020 at 8:38 am
            So cool
            • colo_dude
              colo_dudeTuesday, November 24, 2020 at 8:29 am
              WOW. Just wow.😱
              • fantasy_book
                fantasy_bookSaturday, November 21, 2020 at 8:43 am
                This is good that the leopard survived! Luck was with him! Hope that leopard is okay!!!
                • yourself10
                  yourself10Friday, January 1, 2021 at 4:32 pm
                  Hope is always stronger
                • k-quine
                  k-quineMonday, November 16, 2020 at 1:29 pm
                  i hope she is okay. she looks fine and healthy before and after
                  • k-quine
                    k-quineMonday, November 16, 2020 at 1:28 pm
                    thats crazy
                    • catlover19
                      catlover19Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 10:49 am
                      Bless this leopard... I hope he is well and did not get hurt... BLESS YOU LEOPARD