Leopards from northern China, once on the verge of extinction but still rare, have recently been sighted in the Liupan Mountains in northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Forestry authorities attribute the increase in sightings to a 300-kilometer corridor that has made possible the migration of wildlife through a large wooded area in recent years.
Authorities say around 50 leopards live in the Liupan Mountains, including more than 30 recluse family members from northern China, and feast on abundant wild boars in the nature reserve.
The wildlife corridor connecting the Liupan Mountains to the Longshan Mountains and Qinling Mountains facilitates the migration of leopards, leopard cats, yellow-throated martens and many other wildlife.
North China’s leopard population has grown by more than 30 in the past two years, according to conservationists. Monitoring data shows that Qinling Mountain leopards migrated and mated with local big cats, thereby avoiding inbreeding and advancing species evolution.
In total, 53 species of rare wild animals in Liupan Mountains migrated from Qinling Mountains through the corridor. These newcomers have expanded the local wildlife community to 273 species, according to a five-year survey conducted jointly by the College of Wildlife and Protected Area of Northeast Forestry University and the Ningxia Forest Inventory and Planning Institute.
After more than 30 years of ecological conservation and reforestation, the forest cover of the Liupan Mountains has increased from 20 percent to about 65 percent. Along with the Longshan and Qining Mountains, this extensive Liupan Mountain ecosystem has secured a safe migration route for wildlife.
(Cover image via screenshot.)
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