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WWF Mug n.04

Snow Leopard
WWF Mug n.04


The elegant snow leopard is one of the world’s most elusive cats. These rare, beautiful gray leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia. They are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous leapers, able to jump as far as 50 feet (15 meters).

Snow leopards are solitary creatures. They usually hunt at dawn and dusk. They’re successful predators, able to kill prey up to three times their own weight.


Hear the voice of the snow leopard!


These endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.

Poaching, conflict with people and loss of prey are persistent threats to this rare cat. Over the past 20 years, snow leopard numbers have declined by at least 20% – though exact numbers are uncertain because these cats are so elusive.


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In many areas the snow leopard’s habitat is becoming degraded and fragmented because of human settlements and grazing by domestic livestock.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right”]


The snow leopard’s natural prey is also in decline – because of illegal hunting and competition from livestock. As a result, snow leopards sometimes prey on livestock, which can result in local people killing them in retaliation, to protect their livelihoods. This is now one of the biggest threats to snow leopards in many parts of their range.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css_animation=”right-to-left”]


Snow leopards are also poached for the illegal trade in body parts. Their stunning coat is most in demand, but their bones, claws, meat and organs are also sold, mainly for use in traditional Asian medicine.   Illegal wildlife trade[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right”]


Climate change is an emerging threat. As our planet becomes warmer, plants and trees that are not able to survive in warmer temperatures are now growing higher up the mountains. This is pushing the treeline upwards and therefore reducing the amount of alpine habitat further up. This is shifting, shrinking and fragmenting snow leopard habitat.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center”][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Why snow leopards matter

As top predators, snow leopards’ favoured prey are the mountain sheep and goats that share their habitat. These herbivores graze on the sparse alpine plants of the region. Without the snow leopard, there would be too many herbivores, which would overgraze and degrade habitat, leaving no food for other wildlife.

The snow leopard’s habitat also provides important resources for the many people who live there – from food and medicine to wood for shelter, heat and fuel.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right”]So by helping to protect the snow leopard, we’re helping to conserve its environment for the benefit of people and nature.