Snow Leopard | WWF

Snow Leopard



Snow leopards are easily recognized as one of the least known and elusive cats in the world. This solitary and nocturnal cat has found a home above the tree line where it hunts. Within this habitat, sighting a snow leopard is rare.

This endangered being’s thick fur adapts itself to the wildering climate in the high altitudes, living well in screed slopes and alpine meadows which are mostly above 3000 meters above sea level. This carnivore survives on blue sheep, marmots, snow cocks, and partridge and at times on tender yaks too, due to depletion of native ungulates.

In the world today, only about 4000-6000 of these cats exist. Bhutan is one of the 12 countries in Asia that harbor Snow leopard population in its natural habitat. About 100-200 leopards are expected to be surviving in a potential range of 10,000 km².

Leopards face serious habitat loss due to human encroachment for poaching and retaliatory killings. At the same time, without human settlements, leopards could face a threat of inbreeding.
Wangchuck Centennial National Park 
	© WCNP/WWF
A Snow Leopard footage from Wangchuck Centennial National Park
© WCNP/WWF

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Scientific Name: Panthera uncia
Estimated Global Population: 4,000 (appx)
Estimated Population in Bhutan: 100 - 200
Size:
Head-body length: 90 - 130 cm
Adult shoulder height: about 60 cm
Tail length: 80 - 100 cm
Female weight: 35 - 40 kg
Male weight: 45 - 55 kg
Status: Endangered