Endangered Snow Leopard

Endangered Snow Leopard

The endangered Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) is a semi-large cat living in the snowy mountains of Central Asia. It is considered to be an intermediate species between big cats and the small cats, since it can neither roar nor purr. The endangered Snow Leopard is known under many different common names throughout the world, including Irbis, Once and Leopardo nival.

The endangered Snow leopard is included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and has been placed in Appendix I in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The total effective Snow leopard population consists of less than 2,500 mature breeding specimens. This number is based on estimates of density and geographical range. No subpopulation contains more than 250 mature breeding Snow leopards. There have been some suggestions about recognizing sub-species of Snow leopard, but as of 2006 all such proposals have been rejected. The endangered Snow leopard is therefore considered to be one single species without any subspecies and is listed as such by CITES and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The endangered Snow leopard is threatened by a combination of destructive factors. One of the main problems is a lack of suitable prey. Humans continue to hunt and poison vast numbers of animals in the Snow leopard habitat each year, leaving too few animals for the endangered Snow leopard to feed on. The Snow leopard is an opportunistic hunter that does not rely on one single prey species only, but since humans hunt their main prey species and poison most of the other ones, the Snow leopard is still left without sufficient amounts of suitable prey. The endangered Snow leopard can kill large prey that weighs up to three times its own weight, as well as pin down small preys like rodents. During the warm season, Marmots form their stable diet. Other popular preys are game birds, wild sheep and goats, hares, and pikas. On average, the Snow leopard will kill one large prey every 10th or 15th day. The cat will then stay with its carrion and feed for three or four days.

Hunting is another major problem for the endangered Snow leopard. Bones from the endangered Snow leopard is used in traditional Chinese medicine. When bones from the like ways endangered Tiger grew harder to obtain, bones from the Snow leopard became popular as a substitute which placed an even harder strain on the already diminished Snow leopard population. The endangered Snow leopard is hunted to provide bones for the regional markets as well as for international trade. The endangered Snow leopard is also killed for its fur. In many parts of the world, the demand for wild-caught fur from endangered animals has dropped dramatically during the last few decades. There is however still a substantial demand for Snow leopard furs on certain markets. Snow leopard furs have for instance been offered as “novelty furs” in coat stores in China, Mongolia and Taiwan. In addition to being included in CITES Appendix I, the endangered Snow leopard is protected by national laws across most of its range. Hunting is banned in China, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. In Bhutan, hunting is prohibited only in protected areas, but these areas cover most of the Bhutan Snow leopard habitat.

More info on big and small wild cats:

Bengal Tigers
White Bengal Tigers
Royal Bengal Tigers
Bengal Tigers Facts
Jaguar Animal - Jaguar Cats
Black Jaguar (Animal)
Jaguar Animal Facts
Ocelot - Ocelot cat
Ocelot facts & Information
Siberian Tiger
White Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger Habitat
Siberian Tiger Fact
Siberian Tiger Information
Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard Habitat
Snow Leopard Fact
White Tigers
White Bengal Tigers
White Siberian Tigers
Baby White Tigers


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