Snow leopard, the future is still uncertain



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Snow leopard, the future is still uncertain

Snow leopard future is still uncertain. Numerous organizations are working to preserve the snow leopard population and the mountain ecosystems in which it lives, which are also threatened. These include the Snow Leopard Trust, the Snow Leopard Conservancy, the Snow Leopard Network, the Cat Specialist Group and the Panthera Corporation.

These groups, numerous national governments of the countries where this species lives, non-profit organizations and private agencies recently gathered in Beijing, at the X International Conference for the Snow Leopard. Their goal is to promote programs with the aim of gathering as much information as possible and awareness-raising projects among the inhabitants of the places where the snow leopards live, to better understand their needs.

In 2003 the total population of snow leopards in the wild was estimated at only 4080-6590 head by McCarthy and his collaborators. However, many of these estimates are approximate and dated.

Snow leopard, the future is still uncertain

In 1972 IUCN placed the leopard on its Red List of Threatened Species, in the category of endangered species, but in 2017 it was reclassified as vulnerable.

He can still be saved, but his future remains uncertain Zoos play a key role in ensuring the conservation of the snow leopard in the wild as well as other endangered species. As of 2017, according to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, there are 471 snow leopards in zoos around the world.

Through conservation projects, zoos collaborate with numerous entities such as the Snow Leopard Trust. This organization works directly with local populations to find solutions that simultaneously help the snow leopard and the people who share the territory with it.

Zoological gardens together with their visitors financially support conservation projects. To this end, awareness and dissemination events are organized within the zoological structures. Zoos' commitment to endangered species grows steadily also through joining the European Program for Threatened Species (EEP) for the protection of this elusive feline, one of the most endangered species in the world.

The snow leopard lives in the highlands and high valleys of the main mountains of Central Asia, within the borders of Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its geographical distribution extends from Hindu Kush, in the north-eastern part of Afghanistan, to China, where it is found in the mountains of Xinjiang, on the Pamir, in the Altyn-Tagh and in the mountainous regions of Gansu and Western Sichuan.

The snow leopard also inhabits Pakistan and the southern Himalayas: Gilgit, Hunza, Kashmir, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan. It also lives in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, in Zungaria, in the Altai mountains, around Lake Baikal and in southern Siberia up to the Saiani mountains, on the border with Mongolia.

The snow leopard lives in the highlands between 3350 and 6700 m of altitude. Scholars of the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy have tried, despite the difficulties, to make an estimate of the population of this animal, evaluating it at 4080-6590 specimens. However, it is feared that there are fewer than 2500 specimens of reproductive age.