ULAN BATOR, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian government had revoked a decision it made earlier this month to allow foreigners to hunt leopards for scientific purpose, local media reported Wednesday.
Mongolian Environment and Tourism Minister L. Gansukh canceled the permission to kill four leopards for scientific purpose this year, after meeting researchers and representatives of non-government organizations to discuss the issue.
The researchers opposed the decision made by the cabinet on March 2. They said genetic research and other modern technologies made it possible to do scientific research without killing the highly endangered species.
The decision to allow four leopards to be hunted incurred opposition worldwide. Snow Leopard Network, a major organization aimed at protecting the species, sent a written appeal to the government, urging it to reverse its decision.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement which entered into force in 1975 to protect wild animals and plants, has listed the snow leopard as one of species threatened with extinction which are or may be affected by trade.
Snow leopards normally live between 3,000 and 5,500 meters above sea level in the rocky mountain ranges of Central Asia. According to a survey conducted in 2009 and 2010, there are more than 1,200 leopards in Mongolia.