This leopard is so happy to be alive it can barely stand it

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The photo you're looking at is of a Persian leopard — the largest subspecies of leopard on Earth — and it is just elated to be here.

Where is here, exactly? That would be Afghanistan's Central Highlands, where this photo was taken. Until recently, Persian leopards were believed to have vanished from this rocky region entirely. But as this image clearly illustrates, at least one large, adult leopard is most definitely alive, and feeling well enough to bare its teeth in a display that was probably meant to charm the pants off intimidate the crap out of whatever kept shining a light in its face in the middle of the night (this particular photo was snapped a little before one in the morning).


The thing is, nobody was actually present to see this feline's fangs up close and personal; this photo (original image available here) was captured by an automated camera trap, strategically placed by conservationists interested in assessing wildlife dynamics in the country's Hindu Kush mountains.

"The presence of leopards and lynxes in Afghanistan tells us that these big cats are finding enough prey to survive," said Ghani Ghuriani, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. "This means that the rangelands can still support ibex, urial, and other species, which is a good sign for both wildlife and the people of this region who also depend on these grasslands for grazing."


Top image via WCS Afghanistan Program