Snow Leopard

Large, swift and gentle, the snow leopard is a member of the big cat family found high in the Central and South Asian mountains. You can find this king of the mountain in 12 countries across Asia, including China, India and Russia, but their expansive habitat range does not mean you are likely to spot one in the wild. Snow leopards are listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, with an estimated population of between 4,000 and 7,500 individuals remaining (IUCN).

Where they are found

Central and South Asian mountains

 

Why they are important

As the top predator in its habitat, the snow leopard helps control populations of its prey, keeping their numbers stable and preventing them from overgrazing local foliage. Their predation also helps weed out sick and weaker individuals lower in the food chain.

 

How they are threatened by illegal trade

Snow leopards are sought after for their skins, which are used for home décor, taxidermy and fashion. Their prey—typically wild sheep and goats—are also victims of illegal hunting and land degradation, which threatens the snow leopard’s ability to find food.

In addition to being threatened by the illegal trade in wildlife, snow leopards face retaliatory killings by farmers whose livestock can be preyed on by the leopard. They are also threatened by habitat loss and degradation (often a result of extractive industries or infrastructure) as well as temperature increases caused by climate change.

 

How you can help

You can prevent further decline of the snow leopard’s population by refusing to buy leopard skin and championing conservation efforts throughout Central and South Asia. Lend your support to a charity dedicated to preserving wild flora and fauna in the snow leopard’s home countries to help protect their habitat. Learn more about the species, inform others about their plight, and inspire collective action.

 

Wildlife crime just got personal

Find your kindred species

Did you know?

The snow leopard can wrap its tail around its body for extra warmth in its harsh mountain habitat.

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