Despite sharing its name with the African leopard, the snow leopard is not believed to be closely related to the leopard or the other big cats, and is classified as the sole member of the genus Uncia uncia. The snow leopard is found in the high mountains of Central Asia, specifically the Himalayas, Altai, and Hindu Kush. Each snow leopard needs a broad home range covering about 100 square miles because of the lack of abundant prey. Snow leopards are solitary creatures and pair up only during the breeding season.
Snow leopards are extremely rare in most of their range due to the demand for skins. An estimated 3,000 to 7,000 are left in the wild and about 370 in captivity. Although trade in snow leopard furs is illegal, it continues, threatening the snow leopard’s existence.
- Big Cats Online Snow Leopard
- Defenders of Wildlife Basic Facts About Snow Leopards
- Animal Diversity Web Snow Leopard
- International Snow Leopard Trust