Remote cameras placed in Afghanistan have captured images of various wild animals, proving they can persist even in a country where war has caused enormous amounts of destruction. The cameras recorded the presence of a Persian leopard (above), red fox, lynx, a wild cat, a Eurasian wolf, one stone marten and two poachers.
(Wild cat, WCS Afghanistan)
Persian leopards were believed to have disappeared from the Hindu Kush’s central highlands. Other animals such as ibex and urial were deduced to be present in the same area because the big cats would likely require them to eat and maintain their populations, though the prey animals were not caught on camera. The total number of Persian leopards in the world could be less than 1,200 and they are believed to be declining.
(Red fox, WCS Afghanistan)
“We were sobered by the fact that the cameras also took photographs of local people walking past with guns. Poaching is still a very real threat, and WCS is committed to helping the Afghan government and local communities protect these rare and beautiful animals,” said Pete Zahler a WCS representative for Asia. (Source: MongaBay)
The Hindu Kush is a very large mountain range stretching about 500 miles from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan. Its highest peak is slightly over 25,000 feet above sea level. The average altitude is about 14,700 feet. Some of the very high mountain passes were used by U.S. military forces during the invasion of Afghanistan.
(Poachers, WCS Afghanistan)
Image Credits: WCS Aghanistan Program and HK, public domain/Wiki Commons