Take a time to envision what a snow leopard’s call sounds like if you’ve never heard one. Is it a magnificent, thundering lion roar? Is it a tiger’s throaty snarl?
A juvenile male snow leopard, it turns out, sounds a lot like the legendary “Wilhelm Scream” from Hollywood movies. A rare video of a talking snow leopard caught by a remote camera in the mountains of north Pakistan has been published by the UK conservation organization The White Lion Foundation. “The adult male is using his vocal calls to establish territory and alert females,” said John Knight, a foundation board member, in a statement .
“Extremely strange and remarkable,” Knight said of the clip. Leopards are elusive in the wild due to their distant habitats and solitary lifestyle.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies snow leopards as vulnerable. The natural population is estimated to be between 4,000 and 7,500 cats, according to the charity. Poachers and confrontations with livestock herders pose a threat to the large cats.
To monitor and safeguard the snow leopard population, the White Lion Foundation has worked with the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization in Pakistan. The charity is also collaborating with local communities to construct cattle corrals that are leopard-proof.
The movie showcases how wild and amazing large cats can sound when they want to be heard, bringing the world closer to an elusive species.
Snow leopards dwell above the tree line in hilly meadows and rocky terrain at elevations ranging from 2,700 to 6,000 meters in the summer (8,900 to 19,700 ft). They descend into the forests in the winter, reaching heights of roughly 1,200 to 2,000 meters (3,900 to 6,600 ft). Snow leopards love rocky, broken terrain and can move in snow up to 85 cm (33 in) deep without issue, however they prefer to use existing animal tracks.
For surviving in a frigid, alpine habitat, the snow leopard has developed various adaptations. Its short, rounded ears aid with heat retention. Its large paws evenly distribute body weight when walking on snow, and its undersides are covered with fur to aid grip on steep and unstable slopes while also reducing heat loss. In the rough terrain, its long and flexible tail aids in balance. Due to fat storage, the tail is also quite thick and fur-covered, allowing the cat to utilize it as a blanket to shield its face when sleeping.