Help – Identify a Snow Leopard

On this page, you will find instructions, useful tips, and answers to your questions about the CatCam activity, “Label Species”. Use the links below to find the help you need.

Identify a Snow Leopard – help and instructions

Getting started


  1. Use the playback controls to look through every photo in Capture A. Try to identify distinctive spot patterns on the forehead, flanks, legs, and tail. You can click on the photos to bring up a magnifier to get a closer look. If you cannot find distinctive spots for any reason, click the “New capture” button in the Capture A box to get new photos to work with.
  2. Use the playback controls to look through every photo in Capture B. If you are unable to see the same body parts in both captures (e.g. the cat in Capture A is facing right while the cat in Capture B is facing left), they cannot be compared. In such cases, click the “Unknown” button in the Comparison Results box below the photos.
  3. If you find the same distinctive spot patterns in both captures, you probably have a match! Click “Yes” in the Comparison Results box. This will display a slider that allows you to tell us how confident you are that the two captures show the same snow leopard.If you do not see the same distinctive spot patterns, either choose “No” or “Unknown” in the Comparison Results box – whichever option feels more appropriate based on your comparison.

What is a capture?

When something triggers a research camera’s sensors, it takes a series of five photos, one every half second. If the sensors are triggered again within the next second, the camera takes another series of five photos. A “capture” is the complete series of photos.

I only see one photo in each capture. How do I see the other photos?

To look at each photo, use the playback controls below each capture (see the image above). You can use the arrow buttons to step forwards or backwards through the photos. Or, you can go directly to a particular photo in the capture using the numbers in circles.

What are the numbers in circles for?

Click on the numbers in circles to see a particular photo in the capture.

The photos are too small – I can’t see the snow leopard’s spots clearly.

Click anywhere on a capture photo to bring up a magnifier. This will show the parts of the image that you hover over at full size. Use your mouse to to move the magnifier around the photo. Click again on the photo to hide the magnifier.

The photos are too dark.

Use the brightness controls (see image above) under the captures to lighten the images in a capture.

The snow leopard in Capture B is facing in a different direction to the snow leopard in Capture A. Can I still compare them?

No. Snow leopards have different spot patterns on each side so two captures cannot be compared if the cats are facing in different directions. Click “Unknown” in the Comparison Results box to see get a new capture in Capture B, or click “New capture” in the Capture A box to replace both captures.

I don’t see a snow leopard in one of the captures.

First, make sure that you have used the playback controls (see image above) to look through every photo in the capture. It is possible that the snow leopard doesn’t appear in the first photo in the set.

The capture may only contain a glimpse of a snow leopard. Look for signs of movement as you click through the photos. If you find the snow leopard but it only a tiny part of it is visible, or it is far away, you will probably not be able to work with this capture. If this is the case with Capture A, click the “New capture” button. If this is Capture B, select “Unknown” in the Comparison Results box.

What if I’m wrong?

Every capture will be seen by multiple citizen scientists. If you submit the wrong answer, your response will likely be ‘outvoted’ by other citizen scientists so the error will not have a negative impact on the data.

What does this have to do with snow leopard conservation?

Identifying individual snow leopards in research camera photos enables our scientists to estimate the population of snow leopards in a particular area.

I have an idea/comment/question! How can I get in touch with you?

The CatCam project is still under development. Do you have an idea on how we can improve CatCam? Please let us know by emailing