Check out this Snow Leopard send it off a massive cliff in pursuit of a Bharal or wild Himalayan Blue Sheep.  The two go tumbling in the air with the sheep in the cats jaws and continue their fight as they bounce some 400ft down slope.  If only skiers were as durable as snow leopards….

RELATED: Curious Snow Leopard Investigates GoPro

“This is perhaps the FIRST ever Ultra High Definition 4K sequence of a Snow Leopard attacking and killing its prey – a Bharal or wild Himalayan Blue Sheep. The Snow Leopard unwittingly leaps off a 400 foot high cliff, locked in a death embrace with the sheep. The two tumble down a 85 degree slope, falling onto rocks with deadly ferocity. The Snow Leopard ultimately wins and stays on to enjoy its quarry over the next few days.

After 31 years of wanting to film such a dramatic sequence of a Snow Leopard, we finally got something unique! Do note the behaviour that you might otherwise miss. There is a lot going on here that we don’t notice on first glance – for example, the way the Bharal still has the strength to attempt to pull itself away from the Snow Leopard, just after the first stage of the fall, and the manner in which the dexterous big cat is able to maneuver its body to help it survive.”


Meet the Ghost of the Mountains

This elusive denizen of the mountains of Central and South Asia, the snow leopard (panthera uncia) inhabits parts of 12 countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Its geographic range, 60 percent of which is in China, runs from the Hindu Kush in eastern Afghanistan and the Syr Darya through the mountains of PamirTian ShanKarakorumKashmirKunlun, and the Himalaya to southern Siberia, where the range covers the Russian AltaiSayan, Tannu-Ola mountains and the mountains to the west of Lake Baikal.

It is found in the Mongolian and Gobi Altai and the Khangai Mountains. In Tibet it is found up to the Altyn-Tagh in the north. This beautiful and charismatic great cat is largely solitary and lives at low to very low densities in mountainous rangelands at elevations from 540 to more than 5,000 meters above sea level.

The snow leopard is listed as globally Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and the species is listed (as Uncia uncia) on Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora), which prohibits international trade in the animal and its parts and products except under exceptional, non-commercial circumstances. All snow leopard range countries except Tajikistan are parties to CITES but the process for Tajikistan to join is underway.

The Convention on Migratory Species deems the snow leopard a “concerted action species,” thus obliging the six range countries (India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) party to this convention to conserve and restore its habitat. The snow leopard is also protected by national laws in all of the 12 countries in which it is found.

The estimated size of the snow leopard’s distributional range is about 1.8 million km2, with the largest share in the Tibetan plateau of China, followed by Mongolia and India. There is, however, a great deal of uncertainty about the snow leopard’s current distribution, as there is about the size of the total snow leopard population, which is roughly estimated at between 4,000 and 6,500 individuals.

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