The Snow leopard is the top predator of Asian high altitude landscapes. These spotted leopards are insulated by thick hair, in shades of gray or creamy yellow and covered with grayish black spots. Their wide,fur covered feet act as natural snowshoes.Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous jumpers, able to leap as far as 50 feet. These big cats use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill.They are shy and reclusive and rarely seen in the wild.
Common name: Snow leopard
Scientific name: Panthera uncia
Size: 4-5 feet with a tail after 36 inches
Weight: 60 to 120 pounds
IUCN Red list status: Vulnerable
Current Population:DecreasingSnow Leopard
For millennia,this magneficent cat was King of Mountains. The mountains were rich their prey such as blue sheep, Argali wild sheep,ibex,marmots,pikas and hares. The snow leopard habitat range extends across the mountainous regions of 12 countries across Asia:
Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mangolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia,Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The total range covers an area close to 772,204 square miles, with 60% of the habitat found in china.However more than 70% of snow leopard habitat remains un explored. They prefer steep, rugged terrain with rocky outcrops where prey can be hard to come by.That’s why these carnivores require an enormous amount of space to roam.
Read Also: Imran Khan Disqualified in Tosha Khana Case
Snow Leopards prey upon the Blue sheep of Tibet and Himaliyas as well as the mountain ibex found over most of the rest of their range.Though these powerful predators can kill animals three times their weight,they also eat smaller fare,such as marmots,hares and game birds.
Read Also: “My Crowns Are My Wings to Fly” Ayse Top
One indian snow leopard, protected and observed in a national park, is reported to have consumed five blue sheep, nine tibetion woolly hares, 25 marmots, five domestic goats, one domestic sheep and 15 birds in a single year.
Status of Snow Leopard in Pakistan
Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, snow leopard conservation was neglected due to lack of information and evolving conservation frameworks. The country’s inherited conservation laws emphasized utilitarian forest management until the 1970’s.
Hiking in The hills of Northern Pakistan in the 1970’s,WCS senior conservationalist George Schaller spotted a snow leopard some 150 feet away. Later he wrote it in “Stones of Silence”.
The snow leopard was first protected in 1971 when listed in Pakistan’s wildlife ordinance, further highlighted in the 1980’s by the Snow leopard Trust, and in 1995 when the 8th International Snow Leopard Symposium was held in Islamabad. Along with sympatric carnivores and endangered wild goats and sheep, an estimated 200-420 snow leopards thrive in the Hindu Kush, Karakoram,Himaliyas and Pamir mountains,which cover 80,000 km square of the country.
All those snow leopards are important components of the rich mountain ecology, culture and traditions, there populations are declining due to conflicts with local agro pastoral communities.
#SnowLeopards #InternationalSnowLeopardDay #DiyaChoudhary #SnowLeopardinPakistan #SnowLeopardinIndia #SnowLeopardinAfghanistan #SnowLeopardinChina #SnowLeopardinMangolia