Snow leopard

Snow leopard Panthera uncia (EEP)

ClassMammalia
OrderCarnivora
FamilyFelidae
Size1–1.3m
Weight22–50kg
Gestation3½ months
Birth1–5
Life-spanup to 20 years in zoos
Diet
carnivorous (wild goats, marmots, hares, birds…)

Habitat
mountains

Range
Central Asia (Russia, China, Mongolia, Nepal, Afghanistan...)


Snow leopards are shy, solitary felines. Wholly adapted to high-altitude life, they have large paws that stop them sinking deeply into the snow, thick fur and tufted tails almost as long as their bodies.
 
Able to carry animals much heavier than themselves, they ambush their prey, camouflaged by their spotted coats. They are also excellent jumpers, able to leap several metres.
 
Although this species is protected in most of its range, the dwindling of its prey (decimated by hunting) and confrontation with farmers when it attacks livestock are big problems. Other major threats are being hunted for their fur and bones, used in traditional Asian medicine; a lack of awareness among local communities; and the difficulty in implementing cross-border conservation programs, necessitated by the species’ geographic distribution along politically sensitive borders. Only 4,000–6,500 snow leopards are thought to survive in the wild. 




Status in the wild (Source: IUCN)

  • Not evaluated
    NE
  • Data deficient
    DD
  • Least concern
    LC
  • Near threatened
    NT
  • Vulnerable
    VU
  • Endangered
    EN
  •  Critically endangered
    CR
  • Extinct in the wild
    EW
  • Extinct
    EX

In the zoo