Fast Fact Attack – Endangered Species 5: The Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

These rare and beautiful creatures are insulated by dense fur. Their wide, very large, fur-covered paws act as snowshoes to keep them from sinking into the snow. Then, there are the females who give birth in rocky dens lined with their fur, so further use is made of their very practical coats. They have powerful legs and are able to jump up to six times their own body length. Unusually for big cats, snow leopards have light green or grey eyes, whereas other big cats have yellow or gold eyes.
Mountain ranges
Across Central Asia 
What do they eat?
Tibetan blue sheep (bharal), mountain ibex ,marmots, hares, and game birds.
Extensive poaching driven by the illegal demand for fur and body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Loss of habitat due to encroachment by farmers. Slaughter by farmers in retaliation for killing their livestock.
Status: Endangered
As a top predator, the presence of the snow leopard is an important indicator of the health of their environment. But, because snow leopards are so elusive, it is difficult to ascertain just how many are left in the wild. Estimates currently run at 4,000 to 6,500, with a further 600 to 700 thought to be kept in captivity.

“The fate of animals is…indissolubly connected with the fate of men” Émile Zola 


6 thoughts on “Fast Fact Attack – Endangered Species 5: The Snow Leopard

  1. Business 101

    As I make my way through your Fast Fact Attack series, it seems that a prevalent threat to predatory species is of farmers and ranchers retaliating for the killing of their livestock (of course the entire concept of farming and ranching animals is serious flawed, but not the point of this comment). The raising and selling of livestock is their livelihood—bear with me. And the willful killing of these predatory creatures is the act of a businessperson protecting their investment, so to speak. This is a problem symptomatic and exemplified by the greedy and selfish nature common in a majority of businesspersons. And of course, it speaks to the human inability of adaptation.

    It goes without saying that animal agriculture has diminished predators natural prey and the area of the hunt. But getting past that, every business incurs a cost of doing business. Certain non-profitable expenditures and expenses are accepted as a part of doing business; as is the acceptance of a tax (another flawed system). These expenses are, or rather should be, graciously accepted and included in the price of the ‘goods’ sold if the business is to remain profitable.

    Many of us keep gardens, fruit trees and such that we grow and maintain for our own pleasure—farmers of a kinder and smaller scale and scope. Personally, we have cherry and apple trees, and a small vegetable garden. Occasionally a critter will find their way into the garden to sneak a snack. Over, under, or through the fence—they’re quite industrious you know. And birds enjoy cherries. These are all ‘business expenses’. As I tell anyone complaining about garden losses, it’s a ‘nature tax’. Accept it; appreciate the act of sharing with your neighbors, and move on.

    The loss of livestock due to predation is a nature tax, or in these cases a penalty of greed. Accept it. Move on. But of course, you and I know these deranged business types aren’t mentally capable of just writing off these (tax-deductible) losses.

    Thanks for your posts!

    • Sorry for the very late reply, Peter. I almost missed this. 😦

      Beautifully put, Peter, but, I think you are right, and I doubt their barbaric mentality would allow them to accept this idea. Which is a little strange – normally the mention of ‘tax-deductible’ gets the greedy hopping with excitement!

      Carmen (Mandel), a friend whom you may well follow, gave me this link. It might be of interest to you (if you haven’t already seen it) and it is good to see the support given to the jaguar. It involves electric fencing. Which may be alright if the posts don’t start inching (or worse) forward into the forests.

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