One of the most beautiful species of wild cats is the snow leopard and is now considered to be endangered. This beautiful animal is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia and is also known as the ounce (Panthera uncia). Since at the moment the number of mature individuals is less than 10,000, the snow leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
Here you can read some amazing facts about the snow leopard as an endangered species.
These large cats are usually 75-150cm long and weigh between 25-55kg, with an exception of some male cats who weigh up to 75kg.
Panthera uncia is the genus of leopards, lions, jaguars, and tigers, and its name comes from the French word “once” which means “lynx”.
Having in mind the fact that these wild cats are native from the cold mountains in Asia – they are used to living in cold and desolate areas. This is the ideal snow leopard habitat. Naturally, China is home to 60% of the world’s population of this species. The rest are located in Nepal (350 – 590 individuals), Mongolia (500 – 1000), and Bhutan (around 200).
An interesting fact about the snow leopards is that they are solitary animals. The cubs stay for at least 18 months with their mothers, but once they separate they may never meet again. Then they start wandering the mountain independently. The lifespan of the snow leopard is 15 to 18 years, although the captive ones can live up to 25 years. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 or 3.
Main Characteristics of Snow Leopards
The snow leopards like any other wild cats are carnivores and they actively hunt their prey. Their diet consists of the Himalayan blue sheep (called bharal), then deer, horse, Siberian ibex, markhor, argali, and camel. These majestic creatures are furry and enormous and their giant paws protect their toes from the cold.
One of the most interesting facts about the snow leopards is that they can’t roar. They have different vocal cords and sound very similar to domestic cats, only louder. These noises are hisses, growls, and meows. With their smokey grey fur, they are blending very well in the background of rocks and scree slopes.
Enjoy this video of a mother snow leopard and her cubs.