In the long list of endangered animals, here is one more. A marvel with pale gray to gray yellow fur studded with solid spots and rosettes . The Snow Panther or other called Snow Leopard or Once belongs to the feline family. It lives in the mountainous regions of Central Asia and Central Siberia at high heights ranging from 2,500 to 5,500 m. It is mainly found in Mongolia, China and Bhutan. Its territory is very vast. This remarkably discreet species is on the way to extinction. To this day, very little remains. Its population is estimated to be between 4,500 and 8,700 individuals. It is included on the sad list of the IUCN ( International Union for the Conservation of Nature) in the category of vulnerable species.
The Snow Panther is a solitary feline preferring remote areas. This has sometimes earned him the nickname "Phantom of the Snows", so difficult it is to see him. Unfortunately, this did not prevent witnessing the decline of this species to reach today the limits of its disappearance. The reasons are three in number, all human, and appallingly banal.
First comes poaching. Its magnificent coat has earned it to be hunted in the most remote corners. Obviously, its discretion and the complicated accessibility to its habitat did not help it.
Then there is organ trafficking. Once again, traditional Chinese medicine designates an umpteenth wild animal as the holder of medicinal properties. His bones as well as certain parts of his body are particularly coveted. At the same time, there is a clear increase in the illegal trade in various parts of his body.
Climate change is also one of the threats to the panther. Indeed, its effects have deleterious repercussions on its habitat and its hunting grounds. Global warming makes fauna and flora much more vulnerable and impoverishes water reserves. The intervention of man has unbalanced the ecosystem of the Snow Panther, reducing, in the same way, the number of natural prey of the feline. Yet researchers agree that the panther is an excellent indicator of the health of its high altitude habitat. Still it would be necessary to leave him the possibility of demonstrating it.
Another cause of the disappearance of the feline, and not the least, the local populations. The Snow Pantheres are forced to get as close as possible to humans to feed. The scarcity of its natural prey at high altitude pushes it to attack herds. The shepherds, furious, do not hesitate to kill her. The panther attacks sheep, goats, horses and even domestic animals. In some places, these can represent up to 58% of its diet. In the conflict between him and man, the panther will lose.
We can count, however, on the actions of NGOs such as WWF which strive to find solutions to save the species. So we can learn that: ”WWF has been working for many years for the conservation of the snow leopard by leading a number of projects in Central Asia. The objective is to reduce the conflicts between the feline and the local populations, to slow down the various development projects likely to reduce the natural habitat of the species and to contribute to the fight against the illegal trade of the snow leopard. The WWF notably participates in the construction of sheepfolds, making it possible to better protect domestic herds against the risk of predation exerted by the panther, and contributes to the implementation of compensation systems to compensate for the losses suffered by farmers in the event of a 'attack. "
A big thank you to WWF for their remarkable work in wishing that their commitment to the Snow Panther will lead to its safeguard.