Snow Leopard Facts

What is a snow leopard?

A snow leopard (Panthera Uncia) is a reclusive solitary big cat with distinctive spots and a grey coat, found in Asia.

What are the major threats to snow leopards?

Habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade are all major threats facing the snow leopard. Read about how DSWF is trying to save snow leopards.

Where do snow leopards live?

Snow leopards are found in 12 countries in central Asia and spread across two million km2 across the continent, with 65 percent of their habitat found in China alone. Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan, where DSWF supports ground-based work, are two of the world’s most key and significant snow leopard habitats.

What is a snow leopard’s preferred habitat?

Snow leopards prefer rugged mountain landscapes.

What do snow leopards eat?

Snow leopards eat anything they can catch, often hunting prey three times their size. Their prey includes wild sheep and goats, pikas, hares, and game birds.

What is the IUCN status of snow leopards?

Snow leopards are currently listed by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as vulnerable, although limited population data across key habitats implies the species are more threatened than officially classified.

How big is a snow leopard?

Snow leopards can grow up to the following sizes:

Head and body: 146-300cm (57-118in)
Tail: 72-109 cm (28-43in)

How much does a snow leopard weigh?

An adult snow leopard can weigh between 21-55 kg, or 46-121 lbs.

How many snow leopards are left in the wild?

The best estimate of global snow leopard populations are as low as 3,500-6,390. As a reclusive animal living in very difficult and remote landscapes, it is hard to monitor and best estimate global snow leopard populations as estimates are hard to come by and verify.

Are snow leopards still endangered?

In 2017, a controversial decision was made to downgrade the status of wild snow leopard populations from endangered to vulnerable on the official IUCN classification list. However, snow leopards still face major challenges including habitat loss, poaching and are at threat due to climate change and still face a high risk of extinction. DSWF is a strong believer in reinstating the snow leopard as an ‘endangered’ species under the IUCN Red List and want to ensure that people do not step back from supporting this incredible species as a result and are supporting initiatives to delve more into population and data studies around population numbers in remote areas.

Are snow leopards dangerous to humans?

Snow leopards have not been reported to attack humans and are the least aggressive big cat towards human populations. However, livestock raiding is becoming an increasing problem and as prey populations decline and habitats shrink due to commercial activity they are often forced to kill cattle.  As a result they are considered a pest to farmers.

Where are snow leopards on the food chain?

Humans are snow leopard’s sole predator and therefore sit at the top of the food chain as an apex predator.

Are snow leopard populations still declining?

Snow leopards have been eradicated from many parts of their historic range and have declined by up to 40 percent over the past three decades in key areas. The latest information suggests that snow leopard populations in some parts of their habitat may be lower than assumed, and threats to snow leopard survival are growing.

Why are snow leopards poached?

Snow leopards are poached across their range for their exquisite fur which is used as rugs, luxury décor, and taxidermy. However, snow leopards are more commonly poached for their bones which are used as a substitute to tiger bones and used in traditional Chinese medicine. Read more about threats to snow leopards.

What is a group of snow leopards called?

Snow leopards are solitary beings. Nonetheless, a mother can be seen with her offspring. There is no official collective noun for snow leopards because they are solitary animals. Perhaps, the snow leopard’s moniker ghosts of the mountains could give rise to a suitable collective noun.

A group of leopards (their African cousin) is: a leap of leopards.

World Snow Leopard Day is held annually on 23 October.

World Snow Leopard Day is held annually on 23 October.

Why not use this as your chance to fundraise to help protect snow leopards from extinction?