The threatened species has just been dealt another blow, according to recent findings by scientists.
Snow leopards are an incredibly beautiful species that is also very much threatened, and unfortunately, scientists are getting some bad news about them. Snow leopards are still getting killed by humans at an alarming rate, even with ramped up efforts to protect them.
A report from wildlife trade-monitoring organization TRAFFIC says that Poachers took down 450 of the majestic cats since 2008, and the number may be actually higher than that since many poachings go undetected. Considering the species is estimated to have just 4,000 animals, that is a huge blow, and more stretches like that could result in the extinction of the species before too long.
Most snow leopards are poached for their valuable fur and bones, but herders also kill them to prevent livestock predation.
And that’s not all. The snow leopards’ habitat is up in the mountains, and it is under threat from global warming, scientists say.
The paper states: “Based on the average number of cases known to experts over the average of nine years spent working in their geographic areas of knowledge, 221-450 Snow Leopards were estimated to have been poached annually since 2008. With the average rate of poaching detection estimated by experts at less than 38%, these numbers could be substantially higher. Of these, 55% are killed in retaliation for livestock depredation, 21% killed for trade and 18% taken by non-targeted methods such as snares. Although retaliatory killing is estimated to account for roughly half of Snow Leopard poaching (55%), experts estimate that there is a 50-50 chance (48%) that a poaching attempt will take place after a depredation incident. On average, experts estimate that 60% of retaliatory and non-targeted poaching incidents result in an attempt to sell; accounting for differences in this estimate between countries, a total of 108-219 Snow Leopards potentially enter into illegal trade. Over 90% of annual Snow Leopard poaching s estimated to occur in five range countries: China (103-236), Mongolia (34-53), Pakistan (23-53), India (21-45) and Tajikistan (20-25).”