Endangered Species: The Beauty of the Snow Leopard Can be Lost Forever

Global Research, Marianne de Nazareth

It’s a beautiful sight in it’s natural habitat , but the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia is endangered. It is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, because, as of 2003, the size of the global wild population was estimated at 4,080–6,590 adults. According to Wiki, fewer than 2,500 individuals may be reproducing in the wild. As of 2016, estimates for the size of the global population vary from at least 4,080 to about 8,700 individuals only. Are they headed for extinction or only found in zoos, in the future?

Snow leopards inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m. They have been classified as Uncia uncia since the early 1930s. Interestingly, both the latinized genus name, Uncia, and the occasional English name ounce are derived from the Old French once, originally used for the European Lynx.

Snow leopards are slightly smaller than the other large cats like lions, and they have a relatively short body. However, the tail is quite long, at 80 to 100 with only the domestic cat being relatively longer-tailed. They are stocky and short-legged big cats, standing about 60 cm at the shoulder.

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