WWF Adopt an Animal
Adopt a Snow Leopard from as little as £3.00 a month and receive :
|Snow Leopards (Uncia uncia)
Snow Leopards live high in the mountain ranges of Central and Southern Asia, typically at altitudes above four or five thousand metres, ranging in the north from Russia and Mongolia down through China and Tibet into the Himalayan regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The snow leopard has adapted remarkably to its extreme environment to become one of the most specialised of all land predators. Although the total area of its range is extremely large the actual areas in which the cat is found are relatively small and notably fragmented.In addition to the thick coat which protects them against the cold and large furry paws that allow them to tread comfortably over snow, they have a large thick tail which provides a balancing role over hilly ground, and may be curled up against the face in cold weather. Snow Leopards can leap further than any other cat, reaching distances of well over forty feet in a single bound. Extremely strong and agile, they are capable of preying upon animals three times their own size. Their main prey is that of wild sheep such as Bharal (Blue Sheep) and Argali, goats, including Markhor and Ibex. Other prey taken includes Musk Deer, marmots as well as various species of hare and birds.
The inaccessibility of their geographic range means that limited research has been done over these reclusive and solitary felines in nature, and they have seldom been captured on film in the wild. Fortunately their remote location has also enabled the cats to return from near extinction in recent times and evade poachers who treasure the leopards' beautiful fur coat. Because of the inaccessibility of much of the snow leopards habitat the exact numbers left in the wild is unknown, but some estimates place the figure as low as 4,500 to 5000. The decline in population has, in the past, been mainly due to the snow leopards much sought after fur and although the animal is protected in most areas, local hunting and trapping still remains a threat. As with the Tiger, the snow leopard is still hunted for its bones, which are commonly used in many Chinese medicines and this, along with the enforced decline of many of the cats larger prey species, places continuing pressure on the remaining numbers of snow leopard left in the wild. Because of this, the snow leopard is listed in the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Animals as Endangered and it is probable that without continuing action by many of the world’s conservation organisations they may become extinct in the wild.