Snow Leopard

Snow Leopards have the thickest coat of all the cats, helping them to survive in their cold habitat.  They also have the longest tail of all the cats, helping them balance on the rocky terrain where they live.  This long tail is also a babysitter for a mother with cubs, providing both warmth and amusement to the youngsters.

Distribution & Habitat

The Snow Leopard is found in the rugged mountains of Central, South and Eastern Asia (12 Asian Countries). Preferring to spend summer periods in high alpine pastures, whilst moving to lower altitudes in winter. 60% of their habitat is found in China.

Breeding

Females reach maturity between 2 - 3 years of age and can give birth to up to four cubs per litter following a 90-100 day gestation period. Their natural lifespan is 15 – 18 years

Diet

Snow Leopards feed both on large and small prey species.  Powerful hunters, snow leopards can bring down prey three times their weight.  Large prey, like wild goats and sheep can take 3-4 days for a snow leopard to consume.  On average it is estimated that they make two large kills a month.  To get their required nutrients and aid digestion, they have also been found to eat plant material.

Behaviour

Snow Leopards are solitary animals, except when breeding or mothering cubs. To communicate with and locate others, they leave scrapings, scats and spray marks. 

 

Conservation Status

Endangered
Population Trend Decreasing
Year Assessed 2008
Source www.iucnredlist.org

There are a number of agencies working within the Snow Leopards’ habitat to assist in conserving and protecting the natural population. Recent programs provided by Snow Leopard Trust include community education on the plight of the Snow Leopard and assisting local farmers to protect their livestock by providing Snow Leopard-proof holding yards.

 

 

 

Snow Leopard Breeding Program

This big cat is an elusive and beautiful creature, which is becoming even rarer due to poachers who hunt it for its pelt, and to sell its body parts for use in traditional medicines.

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