Key Facts about Snow Leopard

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Overview:

The first scientific survey of the snow leopard in India shows the country is home to 718 of the elusive cats, the government said recently.

About Snow Leopard

  • It is a large, long-haired Asian cat, classified as either Panthera uncia or Uncia uncia in the family Felidae. 
  • Geographic Range:
    • Snow leopards live across a vast area in northern and centra[,l Asia's high mountains, including the Himalayan region.
    • In the Himalayas, they live in high alpine areas, mostly above the tree line and up to 18,000 feet in elevation.
    • They are found in 12 countries, including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Mongolia.
    • In India, it is seen in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Features:
    • Measuring from nose to tail, the length of an average adult is 1000 to 1300 mm.
    • They have thick grey and yellow-tinged fur, with solid spots on their head, neck, and lower limbs and rosettes over the rest of the body.
    • They also have very long, thick tails that they use for balancing on rocks and wrapping around their bodies for protection from the cold. 
    • Their short forelimbs and long hind limbs make them very agile, and they can jump as much as 50 feet in length.
    • They are solitary, and the only prolonged social contact occurs while females are raising their cubs.
  • Conservation status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • CITES: Appendix I 
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972:Schedule I

Q1) What is a tree line?

The tree line is the point on a mountain above which trees can't grow. Once you pass the tree line, it's too dry, cold, and windy to support the growth of anything larger than small shrubs.

Source: India says its elusive snow leopard population is at 718-