We’ve chosen our snow leopards, Irina and Indeever, as November’s Animal of the Month!
This month, we’re celebrating our incredible snow leopards.
Snow leopards can be found in 12 countries in central Asia: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They usually live in remote mountainous habitats with steep cliffs, ridges and ravines.
They are the top predators in their habitat and their main prey are sheep and goats, but they eat a variety of prey, including smaller animals such as marmots, hares, rabbits, pheasants and voles. Snow leopards have been seen chasing prey across slopes and down mountain-sides for 200 to 300m!
Snow leopards face a number of threats, including competition with livestock for food, habitat degradation, a fall in the number of their prey, being killed in retaliation for killing livestock and poaching for their fur, bones and other body parts.
Lots of conservation efforts are being undertaken to help snow leopards, including creating protected areas within their range; anti-poaching measures; schemes to reduce retaliatory killings by herders such as strengthening livestock pens; community engagement programmes; and education programmes to raise awareness of snow leopards.