It is alarming to think that there are only 6,000 snow leopards left in the wild today spread over a 12 country range in Central Asia and that the numbers are dwindling further still – so much so that that species is classed as endangered in the IUCN’s (World Conservation Union) Red List of Threatened Species. You can help.
By pledging just £3.00 per month (or choosing to make a one-off yearly donation) you can sponsor a snow leopard and contribute to the excellent conservation work undertaken by WWF in trying to preserve this magnificent species. In return for your generosity you will receive a wonderful snow leopard adoption pack.
Snow Leopard adoption pack details
With a WWF snow leopard adoption pack you will be sent these items:
- A cute cuddly toy snow leopard
- The My Snow Leopards and Wild World magazine 3 times per year
- A snow leopard adoption certificate
- A fact booklet about snow leopards
- WWF bookmarks
- WWF stickers
- & more…
Threats and challenges to the snow leopard species
As is the case with many endangered species, the greatest threat to the survival of the snow leopard species is mankind itself. Historically, the snow leopard pelt is extremely highly prized and snow leopard bones and body parts have been used in traditional Chinese medicine which led to increased snow leopard poaching. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) makes it illegal for any trade in snow leopards to take place but unfortunately criminals continue their poaching activities because it proves to be so lucrative.
A further major problem that snow leopards encounter is the fragmentation of their natural habitat due to livestock grazing encroaching onto the natural territory of the snow leopard. Although there is not one single documented case of a snow leopard attack on a human, the snow leopard is often persecuted or killed because it will occasionally prey upon livestock. The natural prey for snow leopards is dwindling because herders hunt the prey species in the belief that the prey is eating valuable flora that would otherwise sustain their livestock. Therefore, due to the lack of natural prey, the snow leopard will occasionally attack livestock and the herders will retaliate. Thus creating a vicious circle with the snow leopards being the perpetual loser.
About Snow Leopards
The Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) is classed as an endangered species and can be found in 12 different countries in Central Asia: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They live in predominantly rocky and rough terrain in high altitude mountainous regions so they need to be extremely agile. Snow leopards have been known to be able to leap on prey from 45 feet away! To keep warm in the extremely cold temperatures on their natural habitat they have fur on their bellies that is 5 inches thick. The main diet for snow leopards is Argali wild sheep, Asiatic ibex, Blue sheep, Hares, Marmots, Pikas and Siberian ibex – it has been estimated that in some areas domestic animals make up 58% of the diet of a snow leopard.
The snow leopard species has no natural predator… apart from man.
Where will my snow leopard adoption donation money go?
Snow leopard adoption money that is gratefully received by WWF will go towards sustaining and increasing numbers of snow leopards in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) in Nepal. Snow leopards are secretive animals that sometimes live up to 5,000 metres above sea level in rough terrain so visibility is sometimes difficult, but it is understood that there are 10 snow leopards at Kangchenjunga although there is only photographic evidence of 5 so far. Encouragingly, staff at the conservation area have seen tiny snow leopard paw prints which would lead to believe that there is currently a snow leopard cub and at least one pair of breeding snow leopards in the area.
For just £120 over the course of a year a community based anti-poaching group could be trained and £150 would train Nepali law enforcement officers to fight the trade of fur, skin and other snow leopard body parts on the black market.
Examples of WWF snow leopard conservation work
A large part of the excellent work done by WWF at the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area is educating the local community to manage the potential conflict that could occur between humans and snow leopards. One key area is the establishment of a community compensation program that will compensate livestock owners if cattle are lost to a snow leopard attack. WWF also help locals to construct predator proof pens in order to protect livestock such as goats, sheep, yaks or even horses from attack. By removing the possibility of attack and providing compensation in the event of a snow leopard attack, the potential for snow leopard retaliatory measures are greatly lessened.