Snow Leopard

Endangered Species

Background Information

Snow Leopards live in the harsh conditions of the mountains of Central Asia with heights ranging from 3,000 to 4,500 meters. Some are even seen at higher altitudes. These medium sized carnivores are well adapted to these harsh conditions. They can heat the freezing air by using a short but wide nasal cavity that heats the air up before reaching their lungs. They are insulated by their thick fur and are able to walk on snow because their wide feet which are covered in fur and act as snowshoes. These cats are able to jump up to 50 ft, in order to catch prey like the Blue Sheep of Tibet and the Himalaya, the mountain Ibex, and other smaller. These cats have an extra long tail in order to balance its way around the mountain and they use their tail as blankets in order to cover body parts against severe chill.
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Snow Leopards typically prey on wild animal but will also prey on domestic animals, such as livestock. This leads the herders into killing the snow leopard. These killings have really affected the population of the snow leopards. Another factor in their population decrease is that people hunt them down in order to use their fur or other body parts in illegal trades for the use of traditional Chinese medicine. Rapid climate change has affected this cat greatly as it has lost enough of its habitat due to humans, but now they are losing their home to another danger. Because of climate change, they could lose up to 30% of their home.
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The WWF (World Wide Fund for nature) is now focused on reducing the human-leopard conflict by explaining by education for substantial development . They do this by asking them to stop mining in fragile snow leopard habitat eliminating all illegal trade of snow leopards fur, bones, and other body parts, and by securing specific areas for snow leopards.
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Planet Earth ~ Snow Leopard