This large Asian cat of the panther family is known to live in snowy areas and be seen little, so much so that it is nicknamed ” the Snow Ghost “. It is an extraordinary animal in many ways but, as with many other species, humans are interfering with its life on many levels, so much that we damage it.
Thus, the snow leopard, irbis or ounce , which are other of its common names, is one of the animals in danger of extinction in Asia. If you are interested in learning more about this feline and its status, keep reading this AgroCorrn article because in the following lines we will tell you why the snow leopard is in danger of extinction , its most important characteristics and how we can help this species in risk.
- Characteristics of the snow leopard and where it lives
- Why the snow leopard is in danger of extinction – causes
- Snow leopard protection measures – how to help them?
Characteristics of the snow leopard and where it lives
Among the main characteristics of the snow leopard, ounce, irbis, snow leopard (in English) or scientifically called Uncia uncia or Panthera Uncia , we highlight that it is a large cat that is difficult to see, like its popular name Snow Ghost indicates us, and more important aspects such as those we comment on in the following lines.
Where does the snow leopard live or ounce
To get to know it better, it is convenient to know well the habitat of the snow leopard , one of the toughest on the planet due to its low temperatures. This species inhabits 12 countries in Central Asia:
Some of the best known areas in which this species lives are the Himalayan system and the Altai massif in Mongolia. In these areas it lives from 2,000 meters high and up to 6,000 meters, although there are areas where it can be seen occasionally at about 500 meters high.
More characteristics of the snow leopard or irbis
- Size: it measures between half a meter and one and a half meters in length, depending on the age and sex of the animal, being the adult males larger. In addition, as a curious fact, it has such strong hind legs that its jumping power is amazing, as it can jump a length of just over six meters.
- Fur: As part of their adaptation to the environment in which they live, high mountains and continuous snow, snow leopards have a very thick and semi-long coat. The color of its coat has a background between white, gray and very light brown and is speckled with large black outlined spots. It has a fur that protects it from the cold and helps it camouflage itself between the snow and the rocky areas of the mountains it inhabits. This fur in the tail area is a little longer and dense, so it is used as a coat when resting.
- How many snow leopards are left in the world: in recent studies it has been estimated that there are about 3,000 adult specimens left in the wild .
Why the snow leopard is in danger of extinction – causes
As with all species in a state of vulnerability or in a state of danger, there are several causes of their sad state and not just one. In the case of this species, there are 3 main reasons that have led it to this extreme of survival. Among the main causes that the snow leopard is in danger of extinction are:
Poaching or illegal hunting
Poaching is the main reason why snow leopards are at risk of extinction . They are hunted mainly for their fur, as their fur is highly sought after for their characteristics, but they are also hunted as a trophy to be stuffed, as pets in private and illegal zoos and even for their bones.
If you are concerned about this topic, we recommend you read this other AgroCorrn article on How to avoid poaching animals .
Loss of habitat
Another major threat to the snow leopard is that it is losing its habitat, and faster and faster. The increase in the population that works with livestock in these areas to survive, together with the construction of new residential buildings and other infrastructure are the main reasons for more deforestation and occupation of the habitat of the snow leopard.
In addition, the fact that there are more cattle and that this feline is left with less wild territory each time to obtain wild prey, causes them to attack the cattle. This produces a serious conflict with the ranchers, who see them as a threat and hunt them or set traps to prevent them from attacking their livestock.
Climate change is a factor that affects all species on the planet because it accelerates the loss of habitat, few are the species that are not really harmed by having to move to other areas at risk. In the case of the Snow Ghost, the fact that the planet’s temperature increases causes the snow to melt in its areas and complicates its survival as it is not prepared to withstand warmer temperatures.
Here you can learn more about the topic of How climate change affects biodiversity .
Snow leopard protection measures – how to help them?
Surely, after having read all of the above, you wonder how we can help the snow leopard so that it does not become extinct . The truth is that there are many things that can be done, both by companies and organizations and individually. These are some of the protection measures to help the irbis or snow leopard:
- Various organizations and associations are carrying out snow leopard protection projects. For example WWF (World Wildlife Fund) works both globally to solve environmental problems and those related to illegal hunting, as well as locally in these countries to improve the status of this species and others.
- You can help by contributing your grain of sand through these organizations and associations, by becoming a volunteer in them or by providing necessary materials and / or money so that they can continue with their work.
- If you are going to visit the area where the snow leopard lives, remember to be respectful of the entire environment, this will help this species and all the others in the area. You have to be respectful both with nature and the spaces themselves, as well as directly with the animals and with the local population. Here we tell you how to do sustainable tourism or ecotourism .
- If you find in any market, whatever the country you are in, products derived from the illegal hunting of snow leopards, not only do not buy them, but you should report it to the relevant authorities of the place and, if there it is not illegal. , at least notify organizations and associations such as WWF of the situation.
- If in the area you see suspicious activity or people breaking the laws, let them know that they are acting badly, for example if they are throwing garbage on the mountain, and then if you see that they do not change their behavior, or if the activity itself is dangerous, then contact with local authorities and report the situation.
- Make use of the 3Rs of ecology to help the environment around the world, including the areas where the irbis or ounce lives.
- It helps to make other people aware of this type of problems, not only with the snow leopard, but with all the affected species, both animals and plants.
Here below you can see our video about the situation of this big cat.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why the snow leopard is in danger of extinction , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .
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