Spring Series | Embracing Nature and Coexisting with the Wild - Exploring the Footprints of Wildlife on a Plateau Trek

Spring Series | Embracing Nature and Coexisting with the Wild - Exploring the Footprints of Wildlife on a Plateau Trek
The Qilian Mountains, located at the intersection of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Inner Mongolia Plateau, and Loess Plateau, is a life peninsula bordering the Sea of Death, surrounded by deserts on three sides. Snow-capped mountains, grasslands, valleys, forests, and cliffs - life is born and dies here.
In late winter and early spring, as the snow melts, various precious wildlife can be found roaming the valleys. We slow down our outdoor exploration and follow the footsteps of the park rangers, using our cameras to capture the habitats of animals and freeze their movements, feeling the rhythm of life in nature.
The natural spirits of the plateau possess an inherent magic that can move anyone who sees them. We concentrate on setting up equipment to capture the moment of the animals' lives. Snow pigeons often inhabit high mountain cliffs and can be seen soaring in the sky above the bare rock valleys and cliffs in high-altitude areas.
A group of yaks wanders into the valley, with several smaller ones chasing and playing. A lone yak nearby quickly notices us, with its sharp eyesight warning us to stay away from the herd. Unlike domestic yaks, wild yaks, the largest species in the Qilian Mountains, live on the top of remote mountains, with black hair, raised tails, and hard horns that make them look even more robust and powerful when running. Solitary wild yaks have extremely strong attacking power and are a dominant presence in the plateau.
The snow leopard originates from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and is a soulful species of the Qilian Mountains, at the top of the food chain. Their thick and soft fur has good insulation, reducing friction while moving silently. Snow leopards usually patrol their territory in steep mountainous areas. Park rangers set up infrared cameras in places where snow leopards may pass by to record their movements. Occasionally, snow leopards may also come down to the pasture on the mountain. We were lucky to find a snow leopard on the grassland, lazily lying on the grass, with a proud yet somewhat silly expression. We guessed it was taking a break after hunting.

Blue Sheep also live between the cliffs, and we observed a dozen or so of them moving among the rock walls in the mountain gorges. Blue Sheep have camouflage colors like mountains and rocks, making them hard to detect without careful observation. Blue Sheep are the snow leopard's main food source and are also a common species in the Qilian Mountains. The number of rock sheep also affects the survival of snow leopards, and the prey that snow leopards hunt is also an important food source for other animals on the plateau, playing a crucial role in maintaining the local ecological balance.


Reducing human interference has made the habitat of wildlife more extensive in recent years, which is due to the unremitting efforts of many people. To devote oneself to the protection of wildlife and plants, one needs the guidance of passion and mission. The park ranger, Garideng, who accompanied us on this journey, guards this habitat day and night, and his seven years of patrolling have enriched his life with meaning.

Pandaprank hopes to draw attention to the action of wildlife protection and the concept of environmental protection through our perspective, making this journey everyone's journey and giving everyone a preliminary understanding of the Qilian Mountains National Park. The complex and fragile ecological system connects and nourishes life, and the power of protection is gathered here. With its nourishment, the story of life will be renewed.