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Snow Leopard Status

Snow Leopard Status

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, October 23, 2016/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, sustainability, environment

                                      Himalayan Snow Leopard and Cub   (credit: WWF)

The wildlife monitoring organization, TRAFFIC, has released a new report on the status of snow leopards of Asia. The report focuses on the killing and illicit trade in the rare Asian leopard. It doesn't make for pleasant reading.

According to TRAFFIC, the latest estimates indicate that only 4000 of the elusive high predators inhabit the Himalayan mountain ranges of Nepal, India, Afghanistan, Bhutan and elsewhere in Central Asia. The organization estimates that hundreds of the rare cat are killed each year and their skins and animal parts end up in the illicit trade.

Published ahead of a United Nations conference on snow leopards, An Ounce of Prevention estimates between 221-450 snow leopards have been poached annually since 2008, a minimum of 4 per week, and that this number could be substantially higher since many killings occur in remote areas and go undetected.

The majority of the leopard were killed by herders trying to protect sheep or goats. However, the investigations determined over half of the cats killed resulted in attempts to sell their skins, claws, and teeth may have exceeded 100 animals illegally traded each year. The report did note a decline in the number of snow leopards being sold in the markets, particularly in China, perhaps due to increased law enforcement.

The complete TRAFFIC report is available here . A documentary on the snow leopard and its environment was produced to provide more information on the mountain panthers.

WHB

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