A camera controlled by a motion sensor has lived alone on a hillside in Afghanistan for months. At last, it sensed movement. And snapped a photo, which turned out to be this lovely shot of the rare, shy snow leopard.
This picture first surfaced on the DotEarth blog, where Henry Fountain explains:
Camera traps are used by conservationists to document the presence of animals that because of their rarity, behavior or other factors would otherwise be seldom seen. The basic trap consists of a camera and a means of triggering it - often an infrared device or some other motion sensor.
What makes this photograph so amazing is that this endangered big cat has been captured so clearly, looking wild and cute at the same time. Often, because camera traps are automated, all you get is a blur or just, as CuteOverload would say, "the tocks."
The camera trap was set by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which hopes to turn the region where this fluffy creature was found into a preservation area.