The snow leopards scientific name is uncia uncial or panthera uncial. It looks a lot like other big cats but is very different. Its spots are different and its color is grey with black spots. The snow leopard doesn’t eat the same food as other big cats. The snow leopard is about 2 feet tall the length of it is 6-7.5 feet long including the 40 inch tail. It weighs from 77 lbs to 121 lbs. The females are about 30% smaller than the males. Their life span is hard to determinate in the wild, but in captivity it is about 21 years. Their mating season is from January to mid-March. The gestation period is 3-3 ½ months and will have 2-3 cubs 100 days after gestation period. The cubs are born with their eyes closed and open their eyes seven days after they are born. At two months old they are eating normal food and 3 months old are following their mother around. The cubs usually stay with their mother until they are between one and two years old.
Snow leopards live in central Asia and 60% of snow leopard lives in china. Their range covers 2 million square kilometers or about the size of Greenland or Mexico. Most of the snow leopards habitat is located along the international borders. They are usually found between 3,000 and 5,400 meters above sea level. The climate where the snow leopards live is cold and dry. They prefer steep broken terrain of cliffs, rocky out crops and ravines. They like this terrain because it is good cover and has good views to help them sneak up on prey. Each snow leopard has a defined home range. The range varies as small as 30-65 kilometers to 1,000 kilometers. The red area is the range of the snow leopards shown below.
The red area shown is where snow leopard lives.
The snow leopard is in the carnivorous class. It eats small mammals such as bunnies, marmots, pikas, and hares; it also eats bigger animals such as wild sheep, goats, yak, asses, musk deer and domestic live stock, it also eats small birds such as Tibetan snowcock and chukor partridge. But since there are times when it’s hard to find food they will kill livestock if necessary.
The snow leopard doesn’t have many predators because it is at the top of the food chain except for wolves and man. The truth is humans are their worst predators. Humans are the reason there aren’t a lot of snow leopards left in the wild, but not the only reason. The reasons that contribute to the endangerment of the snow leopard are poaching, loss of prey, loss of habitat, lack of effective protection, and lack of awareness and support. The snow leopards also get in trouble with humans because they kill livestock and farmers hate that. We kill them for their fur which is sold on the black market for 60,000 per pelt, their bones and other body parts are sold and used too. The reason they are killed is for traditional Asian medicine. They killed the snow leopard for its fur and that is one of the reasons it is endangered specie shown below.
This picture shows snow leopard fur.
There are a lot of people and organizations trying to save the snow leopard like the Snow Leopard Trust, Big Cat Rescue, and the Defenders of Wildlife. These are just a few organizations. The Snow Leopard Conservancy works to help the snow leopard and make the villagers that kill the snow leopard happy. The reason the villagers don’t like the snow leopards is because they kill their livestock. If a snow leopard enters a coral of moving livestock its kill instinct is triggered and can kill up to 107 animals at one time. That’s why the villagers don’t like them and try to kill them in retaliation for them killing their livestock. As the number of wild prey decreases the snow leopards turn to livestock for food. Livestock losses ranges vary but can reach up to 10% or more of the herd in depredation. It is not only a livestock problem but an economic problem also were the villagers income is about 200