With less than five thousand snow leopards left, the chances of seeing this creature in the wild are slim. To make the odds even worse, this creature is crepuscular and nocturnal.

It wanders over a large home range in search of prey, including yaks, mountain goats, and bharals.

Like many big cats, it leads a solitary life, only coming together with members of the opposite sex to mate.

Despite its protected status, this species is still hunted and its skins are sold on the black market.

In addition, it has lost some of its habitat to agriculture, which has also threatened its favored prey.

Hunting livestock almost inevitably results in its death at the hands of farmers.

Animal Facts

Name: Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia)

Family: Felidae (Cats)

Range: Central Asia

Habitat: Alpine meadows and rocky areas at 4,800 to 16,000 feet (1,500 to 4,900 m)

Diet: Mainly bharal and ibex; also yaks, marmots, pikas, hares, other small rodents and game birds

Head and Body Length: 30 to 56 inches (75 to 142 cm)

Tail Length: 31.5 to 39 inches (80 to 100 cm)

Shoulder Height: 20 to 26 inches (50 to 65 cm)

Weight: 55 to 165 pounds (25 to 75 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating January to March; gestation 98 to 103 days, usually two or three cubs born

Description: Smokey-gray fur tinged with yellow; dark-gray to black rosettes and spots; long body hair; dense, wooly belly fur; short forelimbs; long hind limbs; large paws; long, thick, furry tail

Conservation Status: Endangered

Major Threat(s): Loss of food source; habitat loss; poaching

What Can I Do?: Visit the International Snow Leopard Trust and The Snow Leopard Conservancy for information on how you can help.