Snow leopard Panthera uncia (EEP)
Life-spanup to 20 years in zoos
carnivorous (wild goats, marmots, hares, birds…)
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 evaluatedNE
- Data deficientDD
- Least concernLC
- Near threatenedNT
- Critically endangeredCR
- Extinct in the wildEW