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Lumileopardi - Ähtäri Zoo

Snow Leopard

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A climber from the Himalayas

In the wild, snow leopards live high in the Himalayas and the mountains of Central Asia. The world’s wild snow leopard population is only 3,500–7,000 animals. Zoos are home to an additional 700 snow leopards. More than 100 snow leopards have been born in Finland’s zoos!

Threatened by poaching and persecution

The number one threat to snow leopards is poaching. The light-colored, long-haired fur is valuable, and other body parts are used for various potions and remedies in Asia. Snow leopards are also persecuted because people consider them a threat to the livestock grazing in the mountains.

Global warming

As the climate gets warmer, forests and meadows extend higher on the slopes of the Himalayas. The snow leopard’s natural habitat becomes smaller, and there are fewer prey animals to hunt. At the same time, livestock are brought higher and higher in the mountains, which causes more trouble with people for snow leopards.

Back into the wild?

The snow leopard population in zoos is logged carefully so that the genome remains diverse and the animals stay healthy.

The goal is to release snow leopards back into their original habitat. However, the persecution and poaching have to become less common for this to be a viable option.

Conservation status

Endangered (EN). There is a high risk of extinction in the wild for this species.

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