Animal Picture of the Day:
Cliff-Side Snow Leopard

Snow leopard

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.


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The Snow Leopard and the Dog

snow-leopard-and-dog

We love animal odd couples. This one features a young snow leopard, Shanti, and her best friend, Badra the dog. Badra was adopted through an animal rescue and paired with Shanti to give Shanti the social interaction that she is missing due to being a single cub who could not be raised by her mother. Shanti’s mother had a history of violence towards her offspring, so keepers at the Binder Park Zoo separated her from her mother shortly after birth for her own protection. Pairing young big cats with dogs has been very successful with many cat species, but Shanti may be the first snow leopard to have a doggy buddy.

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