Three snow leopards surprised wildlife researchers in China by snuggling in front of a monitoring camera – a rare sighting they say will help us better understand and protect the big cats. And they hope it’ll help scientists estimate just how many of these elusive animals are left in the wild.
The big cat conservation group Panthera released a stop-motion video of the felines last week, captured in the highlands of China’s Qinghai province, near a monastery where the agency is working alongside the Snow Leopard Trust and a local nonprofit named Shan Shui. In the minute-long clip, a snow leopard lopes in front of the camera. Another soon joins it for a nap and a third big cat crawls on top of them before settling in the back of the frame.