Endangered Spotlight: Snow Leopard

Snow leopard / Panthera uncia
Current conservation status: Vulnerable
Population (estimate): 4,500-7,500

Jean Beaufort / Publicdomanpictures.net

Although the snow leopard is no longer considered endangered, it is still being threatened by poaching and habitat change. Our Snow Leopard 40L Hiking Backpack is named after this cat making a comeback.

About

These solitary creatures can be very secretive; their patterned fur is perfect for camouflaging in the snowy brush of the Himalayas where they are naturally found. Be careful though, because snow leopards will ambush their preys from above and they are not afraid of the size of their next meal.

The snow leopard is a vulnerable species native to parts of southern and eastern Asia. They were placed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered in 1972, but have since been changed to Vulnerable in 2017. This doesn’t mean that snow leopards are safe from human-caused threats such as poaching and retaliatory killing, as their population is still dwindling in some places.

Threats

  • Retaliatory killing – Since snow leopards natural prey such as sheep are becoming scarce, they are forced to hunt farmers’ animals and unfortunately are killed by farmers for endangering their livestock.
  • Poaching – Snow leopard parts, especially their fur, have been sought after for many years by collectors, making them prime targets for poachers.
  • Habitat loss from climate change – Humans have been settling into the snow leopard’s natural habitat range and have reduced their range.

Conservation Efforts

  • Protected areas for the leopards are being established
  • Education programs that raise awareness about snow leopards and their habitats

What You Can Do

There are multiple conservation organizations that are working to protect snow leopards and their habitats. You can contribute to an ongoing project by donating, volunteering or “adopting” a snow leopard.

Eric Kilby / Wikimedia Commons