Snow Leopard

True Wild Life | Snow Leopard | The snow leopard is a moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of South Asia and Central Asia. Although sharing its name with the common leopard, the snow leopard is not believed to be closely related to the Leopard or the other members of the Pantherine group and is classified as the sole member of the genus Uncia uncia. The classification of this species has been subject to change and its exact taxonomic position will not be resolved until further studies are conducted.

Snow leopards live between 3,000 and 5,500 metres above sea level in the rocky mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. Their secretive nature means that their exact numbers are unknown, but it has been estimated that between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards exist in the wild and between 600 and 700 in zoos worldwide.

Snow leopards are carnivores and actively hunt their prey, though, like all cats, they are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever meat they can find, including carrion and domestic livestock. The Snow Leopard eats goats, sheep, rabbits and birds. It can catch prey over 3 times its own weight!

At one time, the Snow Leopard was nearly hunted into disappearance for its fur. Its rare, beautiful fur could sell for a very high price. Now, conservation actions, for the Snow Leopard's numbers are slowly becoming popular. Sadly, the hunters kill the leopard for its fur, and some leopards are killed by people to protect domestic goats.