Species In News: Snow Leopard


    In News

    • Recently, a study by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) on snow leopards has thrown up interesting insights on the elusive mountain cat and its prey species.  

    About Snow leopard

    • Scientific Name: Panthera uncia.
    • Habitat: Cold High Mountains.
      • These are found in 12 countries including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia & Mongolia.
      • China has the world’s largest snow leopard population.
    • Diet: 
      • Carnivore & hunt blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas, hares, etc.
    • Features:
      • One of the world’s most elusive cats & are perfectly equipped to thrive in extreme, high-elevation habitats.
      • Insulated with thick white-grey coats spotted with large black rosettes & wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. The tail helps in balancing and also covers the body while sleeping.
      • Shy & rarely seen in the wild.
    • Threats:
      • Increased conflict due to expansion of human settlement & livestock grazing.
      • Poaching for trade in body parts and fur.
      • Climate change & shrinkage in habitat.
    • IUCN: Vulnerable
    • Schedule I: Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

    Snow Leopard Day

    • International Snow Leopard Day is observed on 23rd October.
    • Aim: To raise awareness on conservation and protection of snow leopards.
    • Background: The day commemorates the anniversary of the Bishkek Declaration and celebrates this endangered cat and raises awareness for its conservation and protection. 
      • It was in 2013, when political leaders from 12 countries came together to endorse the ‘Bishkek Declaration’ on the conservation of snow leopards.

    Source: TH