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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2346 Comments
  • joeMonday, November 11, 2019 at 10:54 am
    so sad and cute
    • MarkFriday, November 8, 2019 at 9:59 am
      Thank goodness the snow leopard is alive. I love snow leopards a lot they're my favorite animal. He's very lucky to live.
      • nThursday, November 7, 2019 at 8:50 am
        i liked it
        • BellaThursday, October 31, 2019 at 12:14 pm
          I thought this was sad, but he is Ok. I racremend reading this article
          • williamdavis
            williamdavisThursday, October 31, 2019 at 10:30 am
            But ya it survived really good
            • williamdavis
              williamdavisThursday, October 31, 2019 at 10:29 am
              I always thought since the Leopard is a part of the cat family that it could climb and land really good and I still wonder are leopards part of the cat family. Maybe... maybe not who knows leopards be part of the dog family but all I think is that leopards are part of the cat family.
              • bo beFriday, October 11, 2019 at 2:23 am
                It survived good.
                • am-olm1
                  am-olm1Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 1:45 pm
                  If it survived it must have been very very very strong!!! I love all types of animals from ants to dinosaurs!
                  • williamdavis
                    williamdavisThursday, October 31, 2019 at 10:34 am
                    Ants are not animals they are reptiles.
                  • KeaneFriday, September 27, 2019 at 1:34 pm
                    So sad
                    • livWednesday, September 25, 2019 at 11:25 am
                      Oh no! I'm soooooooo glad he survied! I would be crying if he had died!!!