A snow leopard cub caught on camera. Image via the BBC.
Curiosity, fortunately, didn't kill this cat, but it did bring a young endangered feline right up to a BBC camera trap in the mountains of Bhutan, allowing the news network to film what is likely the first-ever footage of a baby snow leopard -- the "highest living of all big cats and ... among the most rare and elusive of all animals," according to the BBC -- in the wild."No wonder hardly anyone sees snow leopards, they are just so well camouflaged. You could literally walk four metres past one and not notice," said BBC wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan, who took the images for the film "Lost Land of the Tiger," to be broadcast this week.
"Lost Tigers" Also Filmed in Himalayan Region
Members of the same crew previously captured footage of a "lost" population of tigers in the same area, apparently breeding successfully at higher altitudes in the Himalaya than any other known tiger group -- a find that boosted hopes of developing a "tiger corridor" in the region.
According to recent scientific findings, "snow leopards and tigers evolved at a similar time, with the ancestor of both branching off from other big cats around 3.9 million years ago." Both are now critically endangered, with perhaps as few as 3,500 snow leopards left in the world, roaming the high mountain ranges of Central Asia.
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