Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Snow Leopard

Snow leopards are smaller than the other big cats but like them, exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 54kg (60–120 lb). Body length ranges from 74–130cm (39–51 in) with a tail of nearly the same length.
Snow leopards have long thick fur, the base colour of which varies from smokey grey to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their body with small spots of the same colour on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tail.

The total wild population of the snow leopard is estimated at between 4,000 and 7,500 individuals (see below). Their decline is due destruction of their habitat and locals killing them for their pelts that fetch very large prices in the illegal trade. In 1972 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, (IUCN) placed the snow leopard on its Red List of Threatened Species as "Endangered," the same classification given the panda and the tiger.

There are also 600-700 snow leopards in zoos around the world.

(Range Country/Habitat Area(sq. km.)/EstimatedPopulation)
Kyrgyz Republic/105,000/150-500

Click here to listen to the interview with Melbourne Zoo Keeper, Arthur Blackham

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