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.Know More
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.Learn more about Large Cats
Amur leopards have no natural predators, but humans have hunted them extensively for their furs. One of the most endangered animals on the planet, scientists estimate that there are fewer than 50 individuals living in the wild. Habitat destruction, lack of ample prey and human hunting are the factors that have led to the large cats’ demise.Full Answer >
A few amur leopards live in temperate forests in far eastern Russia, a small part of northeast China, possibly in North Korea and in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Others reside in zoos worldwide.Full Answer >
Snow leopards protect themselves using their claws, teeth and camouflage. They are categorized among the various species of large cats and are some of the most unique since they are able to feed on other animals as well as plants.Full Answer >
The spotted pattern of leopards helps camouflage them in several ways. The pattern of dark and light helps break up their visual outline, so they don't stand out so glaringly against the background. The spots resemble the shaded areas the cats usually inhabit, such as dappled forest floors or grasslands, says the University of California's Science Line.Full Answer >