The Snow Leopard is an almost mythical animal. It is rarely seen and people believe that it is the guardian of the mountains. It is a symbol for some countries and it is often regarded as one of the most beautiful creatures that grace the earth. In the wild there are between 3,500 and 7,000. (Bailey, Jill) This number is not exact because Snow Leopards are very elusive and live in remote, harsh environments. In the zoos across the world there are about 600 Snow Leopards. (Bailey, Jill) The Snow Leopard lives for the most part in the high mountains of Central Asia. Saving the Snow Leopard) They live in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. (Scherer, Glenn) They are most active at night. While these animals live in harsh environments they are well adapted to them. However, despite the remote area of their habitat’s snow leopards are often poached. The snow leopard is often hunted for its beautiful coat. The snow leopard is a truly magnificent creature that we should make more of an effort to save. Extinction is forever and once gone it will never return. The Snow Leopards habitat is harsh and brutal.
Despite these conditions the snow leopard is well suited for it. They have a well developed chest and short forelimbs with large paws that allow them to walk easily on the snow. Their padded paws keep their hands warm and allow them to move stealthily and gracefully to capture their prey. The snow leopards also have thick long fur which keeps them warm in their cold habitat. The fur also helps against the wind. The snow leopards tail is crucial for its survival. The tail helps keep the snow leopard balanced on the treacherous terrain of the mountains. They also use their tails to as blankets to cover the sensitive parts of their bodies. Bailey, Jill) Snow Leopards have powerful legs and can leap as far as 50 feet. (Saving the Snow Leopard) The snow leopard has powerful claws and teeth that enable it to bring down its prey. Despite having powerful claws and teeth snow leopards like many other “man-eating” predators are not a huge threat to humans. They often leave them alone and are more scared of humans than we are of them However, people often attempt to kill snow leopards because in regions such as Nepal, snow leopards feast on peoples livestock. The snow leopard is an ideal hunter in its environment. It blends in well with the snow.
It can move quickly, and stealthily. The snow leopard is a true wonder to behold. Snow leopards beauty has caused problems for them. Snow Leopards are often poached for their pelts. These pelts are sought on the black market in Russia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Snow Leopard bones are often used in Asian medicine. (Saving the Snow Leopard) Most of the poachers are often local people who need to make money. Humans can also indirectly harm snow leopards. When we overdevelop we can eliminate some of the snow leopard’s habitat. The snow leopards prey can become scarce if we destroy the prey’s source of food.
Humans can make a difference yet the situation is a tricky one. The snow leopard goes from country to country. This makes it difficult to enforce poaching laws. In order to keep the snow leopard around people must enforce the laws and let the snow leopards live their lives. The snow leopard is rarely seen. There is limited footage of it. In order to help keep the snow leopard around we must first try to understand it better. Snow Leopards are generally solitary. The exception is when females are raising cubs. Mating for Snow Leopards generally occurs in the winter months. The cubs are born ninety to one hundred days later.
The cubs become independent after 18-22 months. Snow Leopard cubs depend fully on their mothers for food. The winter is a difficult time for food. The snow leopard’s prey generally is scarce due to the lack of vegetation. Snow leopards generally live 15-18 years but can live up to 20 years in captivity. Snow leopards are neither considered to be big cats (Panthera) or small cats (felis). They are characterized as Uncia. (Scherer, Glenn) Many people are unfamiliar with the snow leopard. Due to its extreme living conditions and solitary nature there is very little footage of snow leopards in the wild.
However, when one watched the footage of snow leopard hunting they are sure to be blown away by its grace and beauty. To protect endangered species like the snow leopards we must also protect their habitat. It is the people among the snow leopards that are capable of becoming the best guardians. One of the most important things that people can do to help out is to become an advocate for these endangered animals. (Saving the Snow Leopard) In order to do that one must learn about the species. There is no better way to do this than visiting a snow leopard. There are 600 in zoos worldwide and 236 are found in the United States. Bailey, Jill) Many of these zoos offer informative exhibits on their animals. This is a good opportunity to learn more from the experts. Many experts agree that the snow leopard serves as a sensitive indicator or barometer of a healthy mountain environment. (Bailey, Jill) If snow leopards are thriving that means there is plenty of vegetation and prey. (Saving the Snow Leopard) The snow leopard is being threatened by the quickly changing climate. Rising temperatures are forcing snow leopards to move higher in the mountains where there is less prey and the vegetation is scarce. (Saving the Snow Leopard)
One of the easiest ways to get involved and help out is through an environmental group such as the International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT), the Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC), or the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). (Snow Leopard) There are many ways to help out Snow Leopards. Raising awareness for the snow leopard can help out greatly. In order for conservation laws to be passed, people must understand these creatures. There are organizations that we can donate to that will help out the snow leopard. There are a few programs that offer legal protection: CITES, Appendix I, Endangered Species Act being the main ones. “Save the Snow Leopard) Snow Leopards are one of the rarest creatures. In order for snow leopards to return to their magnificence laws must be enforced and countries must agree on punishments for those who violate them. Most people only see snow leopards in zoos. While this may take away some of their glory it is a treat for people who are fans of these beautiful creatures. I have been a fan of the snow leopard for some time now and it would be a shame if the only place where they would be safe is the zoo. They’re in their element in their harsh habitat and are a true joy to watch.
While saving Snow Leopards will not cause world peace it did help in Afghanistan. A snow leopard was taken away from hunters who wanted to sell it. The whole country of Afghanistan for a moment was focused on helping the cat that symbolizes their “untamed wildness. ” (Postcard: Kabul) The people in Afghanistan turned their attention away from the chaos of their country to focus on a snow leopard. If they can do it with all the turmoil hindering their country then we should be able to help save these magnificent creatures