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This information comes from "National Geographic 07, 2020"

For millennia, snow leopards have haunted some of Central Asia's most forbidding terrain--soaring cliffs, plunging gorges, high deserts. Here, thin air, deep snow, and subfreezing temperatures have allowed these obscure cats to elude the human gaze and disappear into the landscape like phantoms.

A female watches over one of her two cubs in Sanjiangyuam National Park on the Tibetan plateau in China"s Quinghai Province. The snow leopard's range spans roughly 800,000 square miles across 12 countries in some of the world's most rugged terrain, making it very difficult to study the species as a whole.

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The number of snow leopards in the Spiti Valley remains unknown.In fact, despite the determined efforts of many scientists, counting them is practically impossible.

Snow leopard are found in the mountains of Central Asia. The rugged, inaccessible terrain and cold climate make it difficult to study the species. Less than 2 % of their range has been fully surveyed. Estimates vary from 3,500 to 7000 remaining cats.

Snow Leopards' survival is closely tied to their cold, harsh habitat, and the availability of ibex, blue sheep, and other wild prey. When prey are displaced by domestic animals such as yaks and horses the cats can turn to hunting livestock. Up to 450 of the cats are believed to be killed annually, mostly by herders and by poachers for their skin.

Last edited by yoko

Thank you yoko for the very interesting topic.

The snow leopard, also known as the ounce, is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because the global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 mature individuals and is expected to decline about 10% by 204

This is also from National Geographic:

Conservation

In recent years, a concerted effort has begun to save snow leopards. Protected areas have been established throughout their range, including sanctuaries in Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Kyrgyzstan. The latter was particularly good news: Kyrgyzstan’s mountains serve as a corridor for snow leopards traveling between the northern and southern ends of their range.

That said, creating protected areas for these big cats has only helped so much: According to one study, 40 percent of those protected areas are too small for the wide-roaming snow leopard.

Countries have also been strengthening their enforcement against poaching, and conservation groups work with herders to develop systems to keep snow leopards away from their livestock. Others are building awareness about the important role these big cats play in their environment. As a flagship species, snow leopards are essentially a mascot for their entire ecosystem: If they survive, so will many of the other species in their habitat.

What is the snow leopard?

These spotted leopards live in the mountains across a vast range of Asia. They are insulated by thick hair—in shades of gray or creamy yellow and covered with grayish black spots—and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous jumpers, able to leap as far as 50 feet. These big cats use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill. They are shy and reclusive, and rarely seen in the wild.

Threats to survival

The expansion of human settlement, especially livestock grazing, has led to increased conflict. Herders sometimes kill snow leopards to prevent or retaliate against predation of their domestic animals. Their lives are also threatened by poaching, driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. These cats appear to be in dramatic decline—they've lost at least 20 percent of their population in two decades as a result.

Last edited by Inda

Known throughout the world for its beautiful fur and elusive behavior, the endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia.

Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats. Despite a range of over 2 million km2, scientist estimate that there may only be between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild.

https://www.snowleopard.org/sn...-uY7ouz2vTjcQvWGxNEa

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