WHY ARE SNOW LEOPARDS ENDANGERED? WE MUST ACT NOW!
If we recently talked about the extinction of honeybees, today we want to refer to snow leopards, an asian feline of the panther family that is known to live in snowy areas and is rarely seen, so much so that it’s nicknamed “the Snow Ghost“! Why are they endangered?
Characteristics of the snow leopard and where they live
Among the main characteristics of the snow leopard, onza, irbis, snow leopard or scientifically called Uncia uncia or Panthera Uncia, we emphasize that it’s a big cat difficult to see, as its popular name of Snow Ghost indicates, and more important aspects such as those discussed in the following lines.
Where does the snow leopard live?
To know it better, it’s convenient to know the habitat of the snow leopard, one of the hardest on the planet due to its low temperatures.
This species lives in 12 countries in Central Asia:
Some of the best known areas where this species lives are the Himalayan system and the Altai massif in Mongolia. In these areas it lives from an altitude of 2,000 meters up to 6,000 meters, although there are areas where it is occasionally seen at an altitude of 500 meters.
More characteristics of the snow leopard
It measures between half a meter and a meter and a half in length, depending on the age and sex of the animal, being larger in adult males. In addition, as a curious fact, its hind legs are so strong that its jumping power is amazing, as it can jump a length of more than six meters.
Snow leopards have semi-long and a very thick coat. The color of its coat has a background between white, gray, and very light brown and is speckled with large spots outlined in black. It has a coat that protects it from the cold and helps it to camouflage itself in the snow and rocky areas of the mountains it inhabits. This fur in the tail area is a little longer and denser, so it is used as a coat when resting.
Why is the snow leopard in danger of extinction?
Poaching or illegal hunting
Illegal Hunting is the main reason why snow leopards are at risk of extinction. They are hunted for their type of skin.
Another major threat to the snow leopard is that it is losing its habitat, and fast. Increasing numbers of people working with livestock in these areas to make a living, along with the construction of new housing and other infrastructure, are the main reasons for more deforestation and occupation of snow leopard habitat.
In addition, the fact that there are more livestock and that this feline is left with less and less wild territory to obtain wild prey, causes them to attack livestock. This produces a serious conflict with livestock farmers, 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. It accelerates the loss of habitat. In the case of the Snow Ghost, the fact that the temperature of the planet increases causes the snow to melt in its areas and complicates its survival as it is not prepared to withstand warmer temperatures.
Snow leopard protection measures, how can we help them?
Surely, after having read all the above you are wondering 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 as well as by individuals. These are some of the protection measures to help snow leopard:
- Various organizations and associations are carrying out projects to protect the snow leopard. For example WWF (World Wildlife Fund) works both globally to solve environmental and poaching-related problems, as well as locally in these countries to improve the status of this species and others. You can help by doing your bit through these organizations and associations, volunteering with them or contributing the necessary materials and/or money so that they can continue their work.
- It’s important to be respectful of the whole 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 the local population.
- If you find in any market, wherever you are in the country, products derived from illegal hunting of snow leopards, not only don’t buy them, but you should report it.
- Make use of the 3Rs of ecology to help the environment!