For millennia, the snow leopard was the king of the mountains in Central Asia. Their spotted grey-white fur blends in perfectly with the rocky mountains, where they can find all kinds of prey: sheep, marmots, pikas, and hares. However, due to overhunting and the expansion of human habitat in the past decades, snow leopards are now one of the world's most endangered species, with the total population in the wild estimated at between 4,000 and 7,500.
A snow leopard in the wild. (Photo by NCF India / Snow Leopard Trust)
The Snow Leopard Trust works in 5 of the 12 countries inhabited by snow leopards, which contain more than 75% of the world's snow leopard population. The organization provides vaccinations and insurance for the livestock of local herders, and educates residents of the importance of protecting snow leopards. In addition, they help local women sell their handmade wool and cotton items, which can increase the annual income of a household by 40%. Every local resident then enters an agreement in return to protect the snow leopards living in their area from poaching.
Check out this rare footage of wild snow leopards, including a mother and her three cubs! The video is taken in the Tost mountain range in Mongolia, a place that has been the focal point of the Snow Leopard Trust's long-term ecological study pioneered since 2008.
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