Every year 23rd October is observed as International Snow Leopard Day, celebrated to raise awareness about the conservation of snow leopard. The day is dedicated to save one of the rarest wild cats on the planet. The countries that form the snow leopard ‘s range have introduced International Snow Leopard Day. Amongst these, are Afghanistan, China, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia. At the First Global Snow Leopard Conference, held in the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, in Bishkek, on October 23, 2013, they signed the Bishkek Declaration on snow leopard conservation.
Purpose of Celebrating Snow Leopard Day
The goal of Snow Leopard Day sis to raise awareness about the importance of snow leopard conservation and to coordinate the efforts of environmental organizations in the snow leopard range countries. The day also highlights the significance of combating poaching.
About Snow Leopard
Often known as the ounce, the snow leopard is a big cat native to the Central and South Asian mountain ranges. The Snow Leopard species is listed on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) under the Endangered group. It is estimated that the global population of the species is less than 10,000 mature individuals. By 2040, the count is projected to decrease by around 10%.
Conservation of Snow Leopard
Despite both its ecological value and cultural significance to indigenous peoples, the snow leopard species faces the threat of extinction. Recognizing that it will take more than individual efforts to save snow leopards, all 12 snow leopard range countries endorsed the Bishkek Declaration at the first Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Conservation Forum held in October 2013. They pledged their “commitment to present and future generations … to preserve and restore habitats of snow leopards and their vulnerable habitats for all people to enjoy.” International Snow Leopard Day was held a year later and annually thereafter on October 23 to celebrate the anniversary of the Bishkek Declaration and to raise awareness of the snow leopard.
What Kind of Threats Snow Leopard Face?
There is an uncertain exact number of snow leopards. Experts assume that around the world there are no more than 6,390 snow leopards, but the number may be as low as 3,920. There are a variety of challenges, like poaching, that this rare cat faces. In this respect, data is difficult to come by because a lot of snow leopard parts trades take place in the dark. Some research shows that, between 2008 and 2016, one snow leopard was killed and exchanged every day. The true extent of the issue, however, is thought to be even greater.
Facts about Snow Leopard
- Snow leopards are not able to roar, instead they meow, Yowl, and growl. They often prusten, even referred to as chuffing. This is an unsafe vocalization, which happens if the air blows through the nose.
- Because of its solitary and elusive existence snow leopards are known as the “ghost of the mountains.” Since two snow leopards are very rarely found together, a group of snow leopards currently have no terms.
- In the wild there are about 4,080-6,590 snow leopards.
- They have long, thick tails that can help them balance and protect them from harsh weather. Their tails are about as long as their whole body.
- Snow leopards are able to kill prey up to three times the weight of their own. Blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas, deer and other small mammals are consumed. Typical predators of snow leopards – including the sheep of Argali – are also hunted by local populations.