Distribution: Central Asia.
Habitat: Alpine and Subalpine Mountains.
Conservation Status: Endangered.
Snow leopards inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations. Snow leopards have dense fur coats and large, furry paws that act as snowshoes to help survive on the cold mountain tops. A female snow leopard can have up to five cubs in a rocky den lined with her own fur! Snow leopards are also solitary, except for females with cubs. An individual snow leopard lives within a well-defined home range, but does not defend its territory aggressively when encroached upon by other snow leopards. Home ranges vary greatly in size. In Nepal, where prey is abundant, a home range may be as small as 12 km2 (5 sq mi) to 40 km2 (15 sq mi) and up to five to 10 animals are found here per 100 km2 (39 sq mi); in habitats with sparse prey, though, an area of 1,000 km2 (386 sq mi) supports only five of these cats. Like other cats, snow leopards use scent marks to indicate their territories and common travel routes. These are most commonly produced by scraping the ground with the hind feet before depositing urine or scat, but they also spray urine onto sheltered patches of rock. Unfortunately Snow Leopards are also highly endangered do to poaching, habitat loss, and Climate Change, right now their numbers are between 4,500 to 7,500. Poachers hunt and kill snow leopards for their furs to sell in the illegal wildlife trade. But conservation efforts like captive breeding programs and protecting isolated forests from being torn down for agricultural uses are improving their numbers. #snowleopard #bigcats #savebigcats #savesnowleopards #endpoaching #wildlifeconservation #endangeredspecies #catsoftheworld #wildcats