Monday, March 30, 2009

snow leopards


There are an estimated 4,500 to 7,500 snow leopards remaining in the wild, and more than 600 are in zoos in the United States. The biggest threats to the snow leopard's survival are loss of habitat and slaughter by man. Snow leopards are officially listed as an endangered species and commercial trade is outlawed by international treaty, but there remains a market for their beautiful furs as well as their bones (to be used in traditional Asian medicine). Another serious problem besides poaching are the snow leopards killed by herdsmen. Most of these herdsmen are extremely poor and the loss of a single animal is a significant one. Recent programs have begun which provide incentives (such as food or clothing) for these people in return for protecting rather than competing with the rare cats. Research and conservation efforts on the snow leopard are led by The International Snow Leopard Trust. Selective breeding programs have been established by the Species Survival Plan in order to maintain a solid captive population of snow leopards in the United States and to minimize the detrimental effects of inbreeding.

Food Chain


Snow leopards are one of the top predators in the high mountain food web of Central Asia.
Snow leopards help to keep the ecosystem in balance by preying on Himalayan marmot populations. Are important to the alpine pastureland because their burrowing aerates the soil which, like plowing, helps the grasses grow. The grasses are important to the wild sheep and goats (which are also snow leopard prey) and also to the livestock that mountain people depend upon for their existence. Snow Leopards are capable of killing prey up to 3 times their own weight. Their most common prey sources are: wild sheep and goats; pikas; hares; game birds. They kill on the average of 1 large prey item every 10-15 days and stay with the kill for 3-4 days.



After a gestation periol of 98 - 104 days 1 - 5 cubs , commonly 2 - 3, are born in a den. They are born helpless and with their eyes closed , opening their eyes within 7 days. At 2 months old the cubs are eating solid food and at 3 months old they begin to follow their mother around.The cubs stay in the company of their mother until they are between 1 and 2 years of age after which they leave to find their own territory.Females become sexually mature at 2 - 3 years of age while males reach sexual maturity at approximately 4 years of age. Snow Leopards mate between January and March and after mating the pair go their separate ways, with the female preferring to do all of the parenting herself. Due to the length of time the cubs stay with their mother, Snow Leopards mate every other year.



Snow Leopards are found in Central, South and East Asia. They inhabit areas of mountain steppes and forest scrub at altitudes of 2000 - 6000 metres. The climate in these areas is harsh, cold and dry.They are solitary animals, except mothers with cubs, and males and females have been known to hunt together during the breeding season. They each occupy a home range and this will overlap those of other Snow Leopards. They do not defend their ranges like other big cats. Where prey is abundant their ranges will be between 30 and 65 Kms (19 - 40 miles) but where there is less prey their ranges could be larger than 1000 Kms (620 miles).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Main Characteristics of Snow Leopards

Snow Leopards are exceptional athletes and they can bring down prey almost three times their own size. They have a body length between 1 and 1.3 m (3.25 - 4.25 ft), a tail length between 80 and 100 cms (32 - 39 inches) and they weigh between 25 and 75 Kgs (55 - 165 lbs).Their fur is very thick and it is grey in colour with brown/black markings. Their markings consist of spots around their neck and lower limbs and rosettes on other parts of their body. These markings help to camouflage them on the rocky slopes so they can sneak up on their prey.They have large paws which act like snow shoes, short forelimbs and long hind limbs. Their tail is exceptionally long and they sometimes wrap it around themselves while resting to help keep warm.Male Snow Leopards are larger than females but apart from that they are visually difficult to tell apart.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

summary of Snow leopards

summary of Snow leopards

we decide use Snow leopards for our AA.From the seach I know that Snow leopardsare smaller than the other big cat but like them. It are Carnivore and actively hunt their prey.Snow Leopards prefer steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrops and ravines. This type of habitat provides good cover and clear view to help them sneak up on their prey. They are found at high elevations of 3000-4500 meters (9800 ft to 14800 ft.), and even higher in the Himalayas. The snowy peaks act as a camouflage for the animal.Due to continuous interference and intrusions by humans and domestic cattle, snow leopards at times stray from their habitat to enter the human territory to prey on domestic livestock. Herders in these areas live a precarious economic life and loss of even a single sheep, causes a real economic hardship. This has caused several cases of retaliatory killing of Snow Leopards in the past .At 2 months old the cubs are eating solid food and at 3 months old they begin to follow their mother around.The cubs stay in the company of their mother until they are between 1 and 2 years of age after which they leave to find their own territory.