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MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. Russia’s ministry of natural resources said on Tuesday it has asked the prosecutor general’s office and the Russian Interpol Bureau to initiate a probe into the killing of a snow leopard, and into possible involvement of Russian nationals in illegal hunt for this rare animal.
Snow leopard, also called ounce, is a large long-haired cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia. The global population of snow leopards is estimated at 3,500-7,000 adults. The snow leopard is listed as endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. It is also listed on the Russian Red List.
The ministry referred to a photo posted on the web featuring "a hunter beside a lying snow leopard with stains of blood on its body and limbs." The photo was sent to Minister Sergey Donskoy via Facebook. "The terrain looks like mountainous areas of Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan, natural habitats of this animal," the ministry said.
The Russian ministry of natural resources said it hoped Tajikistan’s and Kyrgyzstan’s investigation authorities would take measures to investigate the details of the incident.