Millennium Post

Snow leopard facing extinction

Despite intense conservation efforts, increased human-wildlife conflict and overstocking in high-altitude grasslands have threatened endangered snow leopard whose population has shrunk considerably, according to a global conservation organisation.

The population of snow leopard, a moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia including Himalayas, is believed to have declined by at least 20 per cent over the past 16 years due to habitat and prey loss and poaching, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

‘The fragile high-altitude grasslands and snow covered peaks that provide habitat for snow leopards are suffering from overstocking with livestock which has led to a decline in the wild prey base and increased human-wildlife conflict as snow leopards must prey on livestock for their survival,’ says the IUCN.

According to Wildlife Conservation Society, snow leopards are among the world’s most endangered big cats with an estimated 3,500-7,500 remaining in the wild.

Serious threats to the snow leopard remain in its range states including Pakistan, India, China, Nepal, Bhutan and areas of central Asia up to Mongolia and Russia, says IUCN. It says that local action is needed to address the issue.
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