The snow leopard is endangered.
Exact numbers are unknown, but there may be as few as 3,920 and probably no more than 6,390.
This elusive cat is facing a number of threats, including
As the trade with snow leopard parts happens in the dark, data is hard to come by. Between 2008 and 2016 alone, one snow leopard has reportedly been killed and traded every day - 220 to 450 cats per year. The true extent of the problem is thought to be even bigger.
Poaching also takes away the snow leopard’s resources.
Its main prey species—wild sheep and goat—are also threatened by illegal or unsustainable hunting in many parts of the snow leopard range. If their populations decline, so do the snow leopard’s.
As more and more domestic animals find their way into the snow leopard’s habitat, the cat occasionally preys on them and kills them.
For the herders, who are often economically disadvantaged, such losses are catastrophic.
To protect their herds and livelihoods, herders sometimes kill snow leopards in retribution. This may account for more than half of all snow leopard killings.
As if that were not enough, the snow leopard also faces threats that could destroy the mountain ecosystem it relies on, such as
and other large-scale development.
Climate Change poses
new challenges as well.
Temperatures are on the rise across the mountains of Central Asia. The Tibetan plateau, home to more than half of the remaining snow leopards, has already gotten 3 degrees warmer in the last 20 years. The changes impact the entire ecosystem: vegetation, water supplies, animals – and they threaten to make up to a third of the snow leopard’s habitat unusable.
help us save
this iconic big cat
Thanks to thousands of supporters across the world, the Snow Leopard Trust's international research team is studying this endangered cat and its behaviors and needs in five key range countries. This helps us determine where to focus our conservation programs to address these threats and secure the snow leopard’s future! Will you help make this work possible?