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Snow Leopard

Fact File

Continent: Asia
Habitat: Mountain steppes and forest scrub
Weight and Length: 32.5kg, 1.15m
CARNIVORE
Diet: Carnivore
Gestation: around 100 days
Number of Young: 2 cubs

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SLT
Protection

Characteristics

  • Snow leopards vary widely in size, from 27 and 55kg, though some males can reach 75kg!
  • Their long, fluffy tails can be used to wrap around themselves in the cold to keep them warm.
  • Their eyes are an unusual pale green or light blue.
  • They cannot roar, but do have a range of vocalisations from hisses and mews to growls and even wailing.
  • They may eat grass and twigs, unlike many other cat species.
  • They have been known to hunt in pairs.

Snow Leopard

Panthera uncia

Animals — Mammals — Carnivores — Felidae (cat family)


Snow Leopards are an elusive, solitary big cat native to the mountain ranges of central Asia. They are adapted well to their cold habitat, as they have thick fur, large fluffy paws, long thick tail and an enlarged nasal cavity. These keep them warm by insulating against the cold, or by warming the air they breathe through the nasal cavity.

Though snow leopards are solitary, the home ranges of males and females will overlap. Their home ranges must be larger if there is less prey available, but are smaller in areas with more food sources. They have fantastic camouflage, being grey, black and spotty to blend into the local rocks of their home. They also have high-set eyes so that they can peer over rocks without being seen easily.

Snow leopards are classed as “Endangered” by the IUCN. They come into increasing contact with humans and their livestock. Livestock are often allowed to roam by their owners, and can overgraze areas, reducing the numbers of the snow leopards’ usual prey. This leads to the snow leopards hunting livestock, which then leads to the owners killing snow leopards in revenge.

Habitat: Mountain steppes and forest scrub at high altitude.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 1.15kg
–Average length: 1.15m

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to:  estimated to around 15 years
In captivity up to:  21 years

Diet: They are carnivores so eat meat. They eat a range of smaller animals, including deer, mice, wild boar and unfortunately livestock.

Distribution: High mountains within central Asia from China to Tibet, such as the himalayas.

Conservation
How we are Protecting Wild Animals
Snow leopards are known for their beauty and elusive nature, and are found in difficult to reach mountain ranges of central Asia. Sadly, there are only between 4,000 and 6,500 snow leopards left in the wild. Safari Zoo supports the SLT financially to protect these animals.

Many of the native people sharing snow leopard habitat are herders who cannot afford to lose animals to predators such as the snow leopard, and sometimes resort to retaliation killings to protect their herds of livestock or earn extra money.

The SLT protects snow leopards by offering local people incentives, such as livestock insurance and vaccinations, as well as education and training programmes, under the agreement that they will help to conserve wild snow leopards.

Rangers also track the cats using remote cameras, and tagging them with GPS collars, so we can monitor their behaviour and habitat ranges.

Safari Zoo Animals Protected by This Project

Other Wild Animals Protected by This Project