LHASA, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Farmers in Tibet have
found a snow leopard at the northern foot of Mount Qomolangma, also known as
Everest, said the local forestry department.
The leopard was spotted near Cangmujian Village,
Rongxia Township in Tingri, a county in southern Tibet early this month, said
the Tingri County Forestry Department.
File photo shows a snow leopard. Native
to the mountain areas of Central Asia, the snow leopard is a rare
sight, with only about 6,000 left in the world. (Xinhua
According to villagers, the big cat was an adult 120
cm long and about 50 cm tall, and it had a 120 cm tail. But the sex of the
animal is unknown.
Villagers trapped the animal in a cave after it
killed an adult cow, said the forestry department. The department and the Mount
Qomolangma Administration sent workers to investigate. They effectively
persuaded the villagers to free the leopard.
Snow leopards live in mountains and plateaus across
China, Afghanistan, India and Nepal. The number of surviving wild snow leopards
is estimated at 3,500, more than half of which live in the remote high mountains
of northwest Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan in China, said the
International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT).
The animal has rarely been seen in the wild recently
and is worth a great deal to poachers.
According to Liu Wulin, a Tibet-based forestry
expert, the last capture of a snow leopard, a female one aged five to six, took
place in December 2007 in Qijia Village in Gonghe County, Hainan Tibet
Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, northwest China.