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Snow Leopard Captured in Qinghai
    2008-01-01 18:38:38     CRIENGLISH.com

Residents in southern Qinghai Province have recently captured a snow leopard that was in search of food in their village. Now, the snow leopard is in captivity at Xining Zoo, in the provincial capital city, Xining.

In November, villagers in Qijiacun found that over 50 of their sheep had been killed by an unknown animal. After careful observation, villagers discovered that the killer was a rare snow leopard. They captured it with a trap and sent it to the Qinghai Wild Animal Protection Bureau.

The snow leopard is part of the cat family, sometimes known as the Ounce. They live at low densities in the mountain ranges of central and southern Asia. They have white, yellowish or soft gray coats with ringed spots of black on brown.

There are in total 4,500 to 7,000 snow leopards in the world at present. In Qinghai, possibly, there are 900 to 1,200 of them. China has put them on its first-class national protection list for wild animals.

An official with the Qinghai Wild Animal Protection Bureau said that wild animals have rarely come down from high mountainous areas to search villages for food in the past few years. It shows that thanks to improved environment protection in the area, there are now more snow leopards living in the region.

The province has regularly arranged for expert teams to search for snow leopards in the area, researching their distribution and living habits in the province; to date they have never seen one.

An official of Xining Zoo said that the captured snow leopard was a female aged of 5 to 6 years old. The zoo will keep it and will make a match for her in the future.

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