Először fotóztak le vadászó hóleopárdot, a fotós végig dokumentálta, amint elejt egy méretes juhot
Az egészben az a pláne, hogy a fotós nem is készült rá. Jed Weingarten Nyugat-Kínában túrázott a Tibeti-fennsíkon, amikor hirtelen mozgást érzékelt.
Az amerikai fotós épp a juhokat és a szarvasokat figyelte, amikor oldalról egy barna csík robbant be a képbe: a világ egyik legritkább és legtitokzatosabb nagymacskája, egy hóleopárd. A ragadozó egy bharalt, vagyis egy himalájai kék juhot vadászott le.
Azonnal felfokozott izgalomba kerültem, mert ez egy nagyon ritka lehetőség,
így lelkendezett a fotós, Jeff Weingarten, aki egyébként már több évet is eltöltött a Himalájában, hogy lencsevégre kapjon egy hóleopárdot, de eddig sikertelenül. A ragadozó ugyanis jól álcázza magát, és a nehezebben megközelíthető sziklás részeken tartózkodik általában. Most viszont a fotós, hogy nem is rájuk “vadászott” a gépével, elcsípett egy példányt, ráadásul egy olyat, amelyik éppen vadászott. Az első napon, amikor Weingarten és csapata kiszúrta az állatot, a hóleopárd nem járt sikerrel. De a fotós tudta, hogy ezt nem hagyja ennyiben, elvégre korog a gyomra, és rövidesen visszatér, úgyhogy készenlétben tartotta a fényképezőgépét. És a várakozást végül siker koronázta, a hóleopárd visszatért, és trükkösen le is terített egy juhot.
Ever wonder it looks like when a snow leopard makes a successful hunt? It is something I have wondered for years, and always wanted to capture with my camera. Last month, I finally had the good fortune to actually document a successful hunt. After following a snow leopard in our lenses and spotting scopes for the morning, we finally lost sight of the cat when he walked through a crack in a large rock. We had been struggling to relocate that cat for quite some time when @fabionodariphoto excitedly said “what is that rolling down the hill?” I immediately knew that the snow leopard must have successfully hit a blue sheep, and that together they would be tumbling down the outlandishly steep grass slope. I was generally correct, but I was mistaken about one critical element. As I watched what through my lens appeared to be both the sheep and the cat tumbling down the slope, I was worried the cat would be getting hurt as they rolled. Later, as I reviewed my photos, I realized that the cat had not once been rolled over by the sheep, but rather the cat basically ran in circles around the rolling sheep, moving around her as she fell, always trying to maintain his grip on her throat. They travelled in excess of 660 vertical feet (200 m) down the slope during this attack! ******** @jedweingarten #onassignment for @wildwondersofchina with @thenorthernyeti and @fabionodariphoto
We spent the entire day high up on the steep mountain slope watching the snow leopard. Most of the day, he lay there and suffered in the heat. These animals are so well built for the extreme cold that even with the temperature staying a bit below freezing, the strong sun was too much for the cat. He panted in the heat, and shifted positions to find new, cold pieces of ground on which to cool himself. I think he actually was hungry, but understood on a primitive level that both the exertion of eating and the ensuing digestion would cause him to get even hotter, so he did not eat all day long. Although the temperature was low, the sun evaporated the previous night’s snow, creating intense “heat waves” that blurred our vision. At one point, @thenorhternyeti and I left our gear set up and backed down behind the ridge we were on to have a snack ourselves. We were not over-heating, and the food provided welcome strength and energy for us as we continued our vigil. I had been sitting on the slope for nearly 10 hours when the sun started to get low in the sky and the temperature finally began to drop. The snow leopard became visibly more comfortable, and finally began to consume his kill. Since quite a few people have sent messages asking—yes, this is a wild snow leopard, shot in China on the Tibetan Plateau. ******** @jedweingarten #onassignment for @wildwondersofchina @natgeocreative
Who doesn’t like to have a nice big yawn after a big meal? I’m excited to see a story from my recent mission in China up on the @natgeo new site today. Perhaps the most exciting part for me is reading scientist Peter Zahler’s comments on the photos. The fact that they provide some meaningful scientific information is really important to me, in that it highlights one of the important links between science, visual images, and conservation. It’s not the first time this has happened to me, nor of course to many of my colleagues. I remember a photo from a photo shoot with @paulnicklen that revealed to a scientist new info about the nature of how a narwhal tusks grows based on the position of a satellite tracking device they had fitted on the whale years earlier. Some on my early Yunnan snub-nosed monkey images revealed 4 different foods the eat that were not previously known foods for them. On this past trip we saw a black-capped kingfisher at higher elevation then they have previously documented. Insights such as these are super useful science and conservation measures, and visual images pull at peoples heartstrings and sway their decisions in favor of conservation and science. ******** @jedweingarten @wildwondersofchina @natgeocreative @natgeo
Egyébként meg ilyen kis cukik a hóleopárdok, amikor még babák és még nem vadásznak.