Scientists hopes confirmed about endangered rare cats living in one of the Altai Mountains most stunning plateaus.
Camera traps in the hardly-accessible area have shown a wildlife bonanza on a first expedition dedicated to snow leopard this summer.
Automatic cameras have never before been set at the Ukok plateau.
A horse back expedition was sent to ten traps around the mountains to collect data cards.
One registered a proud mother leopard with two cubs.
‘Excitement and waiting for a wonder to happen, this is what we felt when going though each of the data cards. The summer expedition to the plateau did notice some traces implying snow leopards might be living there.
‘Now we know it for sure after seeing a mother leopard with two cubs. They are about half a year old,’ said Alexey Kuzhlekov, a member of Saylyugem Nature Reserve.
Seeing a mother with two cubs give good hope that with a proper protection system the group of snow leopards at the Ukok will expand, rangers say.
According to the latest coin, Russia has from 70 to 90 snow leopards in the wild, with information about 50 of them confirmed by camera traps.
About 30 snow leopards live in the Altai Mountains.