By Bilal Kuchay
This is an extremely rare moment, a male snow leopard was attended by veterinarians after it was found injured in rocky mountains of Ladakh at an elevation of 3500 meters, in India.
The endangered predator was found with injuries on head and paws by a local monk near Liktse, a village situated at a distance of over 40 miles from Leh in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The monk alarmed the wildlife department and stayed nearby to protect the elusive wild cat till a team of officials rushed to the spot.
The camouflaged animal was then taken to the veterinary centre in an iron cage where its injuries were treated. It was given glucose and antibiotics and is still under doctor’s observation.
Smahla Tsering, a wildlife official who was in the team who rescued the wildcat, said: “The leopard was unable to stand on its hind legs.
“It had injuries on head and paws and was in such a bad condition that we didn’t even need to tranquillise him.”
“It is an extremely rare case when a snow leopard has been taken to veterinarians. In the last five years, there have been only three such cases.
“This is the mating season for snow leopards and it seems the animal was injured while fighting with another leopard.”
“The leopard has responded well to the antibiotics and its condition has improved a lot in past two days.
“It has also started eating raw flesh also which is a very good sign.
“Once its condition improves fully, only then we will release it back to its natural habitat,” Tsering added.
One of the rarest seen animals, the elegant and well-camouflaged snow leopard is one of the world’s most elusive cats.
Snow leopards are very successful predators, able to kill prey up to three times their own weight.
The total population of these fluffy, elusive cats is estimated at less than 2,500 adults worldwide.
But poaching and climate change are now threatening its survival. They are suspected to have declined by at least 20 per cent in under two decades.
Thinly spread across 12 countries in central Asia, its home is in high, rugged mountain landscapes.
These are found at an elevations of around 3,000- 5,000 meters in semi-arid shrubland and grassland across Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Russia and Tajikistan.