Snow leopards are majestic and beautiful creatures.
They are one of the most unique wild cat species to walk this planet.
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They neither technically fit the leopards nor the tigers. So it is safe to say that it is a unique animal that people must adhere to conserve and help reproduce, right? Wrong!
Snow leopards, for this very reason, are endangered. The shy and rarely seen animal is on the brink of extinction, and humankind is to be blamed. With rapid killings and mass poaching expeditions, we are currently only left with 3500-7000 snow leopards on the earth.
So naturally, one might ask why we are running out of snow leopards and not recovering their numbers as exponentially as needed. Well, the answer to this question is several reasons. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Snow Leopard’s Habitat
Snow leopards are naturally found on the Asian continent. As their habitat includes rocky grounds, cliffs with hidden caves at mountainsides in combination with cold temperatures, the Asian continent has the perfect home locations for snow leopards to breed.
However, large wild cats’ bones, skin, and organs like snow leopards make for a valuable ingredient in traditional Asian medicine. Therefore, snow leopards and tigers being the preferred species becomes the unfortunate target of hunters.
Hence, the snow leopard’s habitat is a recurring reason for its killings and endangerment.
One of the biggest reasons the snow leopards are endangered and near extinction is mass poaching expeditions. Poaching is the illegal killing of endangered species like snow leopards. You may think if it is against the law, then how come is this act so rampant?
The reason is that poachers kill the snow leopard and sell the animal for money. People living in the Asian continent are deprived and hardly earn $300 a year. However, for selling a single dead snow leopard, a poacher may immediately make anywhere from $300 to $10,000.
Therefore, it isn’t difficult to understand why snow leopards are at risk of extinction.
Snow Leopard’s Fur
The snow leopard is known for its unique, thick, white fur. Hence, making it a highly sought-after material for making fur clothing. People hunt down the poor animal and indulge in illegal killings of the snow leopard just to extract its fur.
Because the snow leopard lives in cold areas, it is nearly impossible for the animal to survive even if the poachers take off the animal’s fur without killing it. Moreover, although many organizations are working against animal abuse for clothing, it still remains a common reason for snow leopard killings.
Therefore, the snow leopard’s fur makes it both a unique and an endangered animal.
Lastly, snow leopards are endangered and on the brink of extinction because of overgrazing. Humans have pushed our livestock further into the snow leopard’s habitat, damaging the sensitive mountain grasslands. So naturally, it has led to a significant decreasing in food for wild sheep and goats that make up the prey of snow leopards.
It is safe to say that humans being on top of the food chain have consequently disturbed the chain down below, hurting every other living species. Hence, it has led to snow leopards losing their food and dying out of hunger due to insufficient food supply.
Therefore, lack of food is also a reason why snow leopards aren’t growing in numbers.
Carrying on with the analogy as mentioned above, as we enter the snow leopard’s habitat and destroy its natural bearing, snow leopards find their way down to domestic livestock for food. As they do so, unhappy farmers and humans occupying the area make it their will to shoot the animal without realizing it’s their own fault.
Therefore, as the snow leopard may descend from a cliff in search of food, the poor, hungry animal is just falling into a larger trap that has unknowingly been placed for its death. Even though snow leopards are tricky to spot, given their camouflaging abilities and rapid fast speed, farmers place nets and baits to attract them to their mainland to kill them.
Hence, shooting to kill is also one of the reasons why snow leopards can’t survive the rapid extinction they are leading to.
We need to realize that a major reason why snow leopards are endangered is because of us and the consequences of our actions. So to reverse this, we must amplify the efforts of organizations and people who are already working towards conserving the snow leopards species.
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