About Snow leopard
Researchers estimate that there are between 400 to 700 snow leopards in India. A nationwide snow leopard population assessment to provide a better assessment is underway.
about 60 cm
100 - 130 cm
35-40 kg, Male: 45 - 55 kg
Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN-World Conservation Union’s Red List of the Threatened Species Listed as Schedule I species as per Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
Did you know?
Snow leopards do not roar
Snow leopards roam across huge swathes of the region’s mountainous terrain, with
individual home ranges stretching from 200 to 2000 km2. This roving, the high-altitude cat is rarely sighted, and because it is so elusive, accurate population numbers are hard to come by, although estimates range from 400 to 700 individuals in India.
The Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high-altitude Himalayas.
It has developed a centrally-supported program called Project Snow Leopard to conserve the species and habitats.
Currently, Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) is being undertaken by the MoEFCC, Govt of India. WWF India is working with the MoEFCC and the state forest departments of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim for this assessment.
Habitat and distribution
Snow leopards live in the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Asia. In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas, including the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas. The last two states form part of the Eastern Himalayas – a priority global region of WWF.
Snow leopards prefer steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrops and ravines and are usually found at an elevation of 3,000-5,000 metres or higher in the Himalayas. Such habitat provides good cover and a clear view to help them sneak up on their prey.
StatusIn the IUCN-World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species, the snow leopard is listed as Vulnerable. In addition, the snow leopard, like all big cats, is also listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes the trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries.
Several national laws in their countries also protect the snow leopards. In India, the snow leopard is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, giving it the highest protection status under the country's laws.