They are found in the snowy area of central Asia's dry mountainous country. The snow leopard has been prized by hunters, destroyed as a predator of domestic flocks, and sought for their valuable fur. The snow leopard is recognizable by its long tail and almost-white coat, spotted with large black rosettes. Snow leopards are mostly active at dusk and dawn and are rarely seen in the wild. Unlike other big cats, snow leopards are unable to roar.
There are up to 6,000 snow leopards in the wild across 12 countries, but its numbers are gradually declining. Their range spans from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and Russia in the north to India and China in the east. China contains about 60% of snow leopard habitat. They have already disappeared from certain parts of Mongolia, which was once part of their historic range.
The 3 main threats faced by the snow leopard are :
- Habitat Destruction
- Human Activity
More than 150 snow leopards live in zoos where they have been bred successfully. The snow leopard is now listed as an endangered species and is legally protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Reserves have also been set aside for both the cat and its prey species.