Q:

Why are snow leopards endangered?

A:

Quick Answer

A number of reasons have combined to endanger snow leopards. Hunting, climate change and farm land encroaching on their habitat are among the major reasons for their population decline.

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Full Answer

One of the major reasons is that the organs, skin and bones in big cats are used in many Asian cultures for medicinal purposes. Tigers are more sought after, but they have become almost impossible to find in the wild. This means that other big cats must be substituted, and snow leopards have become a primary target. Poachers can earn as much as $200 for a dead snow leopard in an area where most people earn less than $300 per year, making them an extremely lucrative business.

Farmers have begun to move into snow leopard habitat. In doing so, their livestock has taken away habitat animals for snow leopards prey on. This forces the snow leopard to turn to the livestock as a food source. Farmers, concerned about their livestock, often kill snow leopards to protect them.

Climate change has also created issues, forcing the snow line further up mountains. The means the snow leopard must follow their prey higher up the mountain. At higher elevations, vegetation is more scare, meaning there is less prey for the leopard to eat.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What do snow leopards eat?

    A:

    Snow leopards are carnivores and eat meat. Their preferred prey animals are the Asiatic ibex, which is a large type of wild goat, and the argali, which is a type of wild sheep.

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  • Q:

    Where do snow leopards live?

    A:

    Snow leopards are a central Asian species, preferring the high altitudes of mountain ranges like the Himalayas. Their habitat includes Afghanistan, Tibet, Russia, China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Bhutan, India and Pakistan.

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  • Q:

    How do you look at pictures of snow leopards online?

    A:

    The best way to look at pictures of snow leopards online is to visit sites that provide information about the cats, such as the National Geographic or Defenders of Wildlife websites. It is also a good idea to visit research study sites for unique photos.

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  • Q:

    What eats snow leopards?

    A:

    Snow leopards are powerful predators that are only hunted by humans. While snow leopards are sometimes killed by humans for their meat, they are more often killed by poachers who sell the animal's fur, bones and other body parts to collectors and traditional Asian medicine practitioners.

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