Snow Leopard - The National Animal Of Afghanistan

Insulated by thick hair with wide fur-covered feet acting as natural snowshoes, the Snow Leopard is the national animal of Afghanistan.
Jun 30, 2017, 3:18 pm ISTAnimalsLoveAnimals Staff
Snow Leopard
  Snow Leopard

Snow Leopards are very rare and found in only 12 countries like China, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Russia & Afghanistan. The total wild population of the snow leopard is estimated at between 4,000 and 7,500 individuals. There are also 600 – 700 snow leopards in zoos around the world.

These white big patched cats love to live between an altitude of 10,000 meters – 18,000 meters.  As these numbers indicate, snow leopards sometimes have a taste for domestic animals, which has led to killings of the big cats by herders.

These cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats' large mammal prey are also contributing factors.

This roving, high altitude cat is rarely sighted and because it is so elusive, accurate population numbers are hard to come by, although estimates range from 450 to 500 individuals for India. The Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high altitude Himalayas.

Snow Leopard Snow Leopard

It has developed a centrally-supported programme called Project Snow Leopard for the conservation of the species and its habitats.  In India, Snow Leopards are found in large parts of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas.

Although sharing its name with the common leopard, the snow leopard is not believed to be closely related to the Leopard or the other members of the Pantherine group and is classified as the sole member of the genus ‘Uncia uncia’.