Snow-Leopard

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia syn. Uncia uncia) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because, as of 2003, the size of the global population was estimated at 4,080–6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 individuals may reproduce in the wild.

Drawing from the latest available data, the Global Snow Leopard and Eco-System Protection Program (GSLEP) uses an estimate of between 3,920 and 6,390 individuals in the wild.

Snow leopards inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations.

Taxonomically, the snow leopard was classified as Uncia uncia since the early 1930s.Based on genotyping studies, the cat has been considered a member of the genus Panthera since 2008.Two subspecies have been attributed, but genetic differences between the two have not been settled.

The snow leopard is the National Heritage Animal of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Snow leopards are slightly smaller than the other big cats but, like them, exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 55 kg (60 and 121 lb), with an occasional large male reaching 75 kg (165 lb) and small female of under 25 kg (55 lb).They have a relatively short body, measuring in length from the head to the base of the tail 75 to 150 cm (30 to 60 in).However, the tail is quite long, at 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in), with only the domestic-cat-sized marbled cat being relatively longer-tailed.They are stocky and short-legged big cats, standing about 60 cm (24 in) at the shoulder.