Photographer Captures Rare Snow Leopard in Thriving Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

In a breathtaking encounter amidst the pristine snow-covered terrain of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Kunga, a passionate 35-year-old herder turned photographer, lay in the snow, brimming with excitement, as he skillfully pressed the shutter to immortalize an elusive snow leopard in his lens.

This extraordinary moment marked Kunga's first-ever experience photographing the enigmatic big cat, a cherished memory that still vividly resonates with him. His profound love for photography led him to this remarkable encounter five years ago.

Hailing from Namse Township in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of northwest China's Qinghai Province, Kunga's home is located in the heart of the Sanjiangyuan National Park, nestled at an astonishing average altitude of over 4,700 meters.

The Sanjiangyuan region, often referred to as China's "water tower," boasts the origins of three major rivers: the Yangtze, Yellow, and Lancang. Additionally, it serves as a sanctuary for nearly 70 wildlife species under state protection.

Kunga remarked, "With the improved ecology, the population of snow leopards is increasing. We treat snow leopards as friends, and they are no longer frightened when they see us."

In the past, the Sanjiangyuan area endured severe ecological degradation, attributed to climate change and various human activities. This led to the disappearance of numerous lakes and a distressing decline in wildlife populations.

However, recent years have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the region's ecological health, thanks to dedicated efforts by governments at multiple levels, research institutions, and grassroots conservationists.

In 2016, China initiated the Sanjiangyuan National Park as a pilot project, with official designation granted five years later. This marked a significant milestone in the preservation of this unique ecosystem.

On September 1, a pioneering law aimed at safeguarding the fragile ecosystem of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau came into effect. This legislation is expected to enhance the overarching strategy for ecological conservation on "the roof of the world."

Mu Yonghong, an official with the management bureau of the Lancang River area within the Sanjiangyuan National Park, expressed, "The law will further solidify our achievements in biodiversity, preserve the integrity of our ecosystems, and facilitate the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature."

This heartwarming success story, where humans and nature collaborate to protect precious wildlife, underscores the importance of dedicated conservation efforts in preserving our planet's most fragile ecosystems.