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Snow Leopard

Panthera uncia


A very important species in the field of conservation today. Considered to be endangered, the global Snow Leopard population is estimated at 4,080-6,590 (McCarthy et al. 2003: Table II). Effective population size (Ne) is an estimator of the genetic size of the population, and is generally considered representative of the proportion of the total adult population (N) which reproduces itself through offspring which themselves survive and reproduce. Ne is usually smaller than N, and based on four felid demographic studies, it is roughly estimated at 50% (Nowell et al. 2007). The global snow leopard effective population size is suspected to be fewer than 2,500 (50% of the total population, or 2,040-3,295).


Snow Leopards are closely associated with the alpine and sub-alpine ecological zones, favoring steep terrain well broken by cliffs, ridges, gullies, and rocky outcrops (McCarthy et al. 2003). However, in Mongolia and Tibet they may occupy relatively flat or rolling terrain as long as there is sufficient hiding cover (Jackson et al. in press) In the Sayan mountains of Russia and parts of the Tien Shan range of China, they are found in open coniferous forest, but usually avoid dense forest. They generally occur at elevations of 3,000-4,500 m, except for at their northern range limit, where they are found at lower elevations (900-2,500 m) (McCarthy et al. 2003). Low temperatures and high aridity makes its habitat among the least productive rangeland systems in terms of graminoid biomass, with prey populations consequently occurring at relatively low densities (Jackson et al. in press).


Snow leopard at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

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Jen.J 11 years ago

Thank you, Karen!!! I didn't see it on the blog, but I'll keep checking. Interesting blog post, regardless! =)

KarenL 11 years ago

Congratulations Jen! Your spotting has been featured in the Project Noah blog

Spotted by

Santa Barbara, California, USA

Spotted on Jul 18, 2012
Submitted on Aug 13, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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