The Snow Leopard: A Species on the Verge of Extinction
Panthera Uncia better known as the snow leopard, which resides in the mountains of central Asia, is a beautiful rare animal that is on the verge of complete disappearance. This prized animal, is very valuable to many because of the extremely high value of its fur, is on the quick path to extinction. Although the habitat for the snow leopard is an extremely harsh and dangerous environment, that is not the reason for its rapid disappearance. Human disturbance is the main cause of the decline in population of these predators. Will humans be the ultimate downfall, and eventually cause the extinction of the snow leopard? What can we do to protect these magnificent creatures?
Like many other top of the food chain predators, the snow leopard populations are in rapid decline. This is mainly because farmers and their livestock share much of the same habitat as the snow leopards. The snow leopard’s diet includes wild sheep, goats, and other large mammals of comparable size, but is not limited to these larger animals. During the summer months its prey also includes small rodents and even game birds such as the chukor partridge. Snow leopards, like other large predators, will feed on domesticated livestock such as sheep, goats, and horses when their natural prey becomes unavailable or when herders move into their territory with their livestock so that they may graze (Snow Leopard Trust 2009). Naturally the farmers and herders will hunt the animals to prevent further destruction of their livestock. Another threat to the snow leopard is poaching. The leopards are hunted illegally for their pelts so that they can be made into luxurious fur coats and other items of clothing. The poachers aren’t always in it for the kill though; there are many collectors in Central Asia who almost die for a live snow leopard to add to their rare collection.
Along with the hunting of snow leopards, human’s day-to-day...