Scientific name: Panthera uncía
The snow leopard is a high-mountain solitary feline. It’s rare and difficult to observe it in its natural habitat. That’s probably why it’s nicknamed the mountain « ghost. »
Its habitat is inaccessible and immense: the snow leopard sometimes climbs up to 5 500 m. Thanks to a large chest and solid lungs, oxygen deficiency in high altitude does not affect the animal.
It also has excellent camouflage capability: its colours blend into the rocky landscape which makes it difficult to see, making it a formidable predator.
The snow leopard is one of the ten most threatened species. There are only 3 500 to 7 000 in the wild. Unfortunately, it is still hunted for its beautiful coat.
Did you know?
Its tail is its principal asset in the mountains
The snow leopard's tail accounts for 75% of the length of its body, generally 90 cm to 1 m. It's the tail that helps the snow leopard keep its balance on dangerous cliffs. It serves as a counter weight when the animal ascends.
- Length: 90 cm to 1.30 m
- Weight: about 50 kg
- It can kill prey that weighs up to 3 times its weight
- Its coat is 12 cm long on its stomach
- Gestation period: about 100 days, with 1 to 4 offspring per litter and a birth weight of less than 500 g
- Life expectancy: 15 years
Keep up hope
Associations devoted to on-site conservation programs
Snow leopards sometimes attack domestic herds. Since the financial situation of the farmers in these regions is often precarious, they can be aggressive towards the predators of their herds. Conscious of this situation, rescue associations help the farmers construct protective pens if they commit to not killing the predators!