Chinese researchers said Thursday that the habitats of rare snow leopards have been expanding in recent years, as the big cat has been sighted in more areas of China.
During a forum on snow leopard protection, held in northwest China's Qinghai Province, researchers from Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Tibet shared their recent findings.
The population of snow leopards in the Sanjiangyuan area, the source of China's major rivers, is estimated to have exceeded 1,000, and the area has become a major habitat for the animal, according to Lyu Zhi, deputy director of Peking University's Center for Nature and Society.
Xing Rui, head of environmental organization Wild Xinjiang, said more than 60 snow leopards have been sighted in areas surrounding Urumqi from 2014 to 2018.
Wildlife Conservation Society has cooperated with Tibet Autonomous Region to set up 260 cameras in Qiangtang National Nature Reserve and recorded many videos and images of snow leopards, according to Bian Xiaoxing, an official with the organization.
It is estimated that there are now around three snow leopards in every 100 square km in the reserve, Bian said.
The snow leopard is a Class-A protected animal in China, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies it as endangered-to-vulnerable.