Ghosts of the mountains endangered big cat

In many countries certain animals are still being considered a threat for the population or for their food.  Lots of people consider wild animals as a menace instead of looking for a way to live in harmony with them.

Central Asia knows their “ghosts of the mountains” which are killed by farmers in retaliation for attacks on livestock and 20% are trapped by snares set for other creatures. Another 20% are killed for the illegal fur trade, though pelts from snow leopards killed for other reasons are often sold on.

Snow leopard

Poachers aren’t the main problem for the snow leopard – Munkhtogtokh Ochirjav, WWF Mongolia

Figure of 220-450 annual deaths could be even higher, as killings by poachers or farmers often go undetected in the remote mountains of central Asia

As few as 4,000 snow leopards are thought to remain in the mountains of central Asia.
As few as 4,000 snow leopards are thought to remain in the mountains of central Asia. Photograph: Klaus Honal/Getty Images/age fotostock RM

Map of Central AsiaHundreds of snow leopards are being killed every year across the mountains of central Asia, threatening the already endangered big cat, according to a new report.

Numbers have fallen by a fifth in the last 16 years, making it that there are only an estimated 4,080-6,590 snow leopards in the wild, listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because their population is suspected to have declined by 20% over the past 16 years in the 12 mountainous Asian countries they inhabit.

Rishi Sharma, leader of wildlife charity WWF’s snow leopard programme and co-author of the global wildlife trade monitoring network non-governmental organisation Traffic says

“It’s a completely new insight, and provides a very important point for discussion on how to ensure snow leopards are protected.”

She warns

“More than half the killing is not for illegal trade as such, so as long as we don’t address these issues affecting local communities, it will continue.”

But between 220 and 450 are killed each year, found the report from , the wildlife trade monitoring network, published on Friday ahead of a meeting on the crisis at the UN in New York. The number could be much higher, the NGO warned, as killings in remote mountain areas often go undetected.

WWF works to reduce human-leopard conflict, increase anti-poaching efforts, and protect the fragile snow leopard habitat.

The snow leopards have evolved to live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. They scale the great, steep slopes of mountains in Central Asia,including the Himalayan Mountains, with ease, blending into the landscape. But these majestic, endangered cats face many threats including habitat loss from climate change, reduced prey, poaching, and retaliatory killings.

a snow leopard on a mountain

Seized snow leopard pelts

Pelts are sold by both hunters and herders – Tessa McGregor

Skins being the main Snow Leopard product type in trade (78%), the primary motive for
buyers appears to be for display, with some observations of skins hanging on walls in homes and
restaurants, as well as stuffed taxidermy specimens.
Priced in the thousands of US dollars, skins have been described as a “symbol of wealth and power.” However, there probably exists very little in the way of a definable consumer segment deliberately seeking out such items. They are most likely
purchased opportunistically – “impulse buys” – and most consumers probably only buy one in their lifetime. Once in a home, the illegal possession has very low probability of detection, and moreover law enforcement authorities may be reluctant to investigate in such situations. The purchase itself also has a low probability of detection, as indicated by the sharp decline in observed numbers of Snow Leopard skins being offered for sale. While growing personal wealth in Asia has been highlighted as a primary driver of illegal wildlife trade, poverty is also recognized as a driver, and the Snow Leopard trade may be more driven by rural people in Snow Leopard habitat attempting to make money and make up for livestock losses to predators than by wealthy people placing orders for luxury household decorations. Unlike the demand-driven Tiger trade (Annex 2), to which it otherwise bears many similarities, the market for Snow Leopards may be more a function of supply, and actions should focus on the communities living near Snow Leopards to reduce incentives to poach and sell. This notion is reflected in the aphorism behind the title of this report: an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. Preventing livestock losses, offsetting the costs of losses and improving community support for Snow Leopard conservation are the most important approaches to tackling the problem of Snow Leopard trafficking.
Snow leopards their thick grey and yellow-tinged fur, with solid spots on their head, neck and lower limbs and rosettes over the rest of the body attracts many women, who love to wear that warm skin. for the design they should know there are other alternatives with modern synthetic yarn. The natural breathing warmth, we do agree can not yet be brought by the synthetic material, but here in the West such deep warmth is not necessary because it doe snot get so cold.

Argali (Ovis ammon), the largest living wild sheep, native to the highlands of Central Asia. Argali is a Mongolian word for “ram.” There are eight subspecies of argali. {Encyclopaedia Britannica}

These beautiful wild cats are known as the “ghost of the mountains” because of their solitary and elusive nature. Since it is so rare to see two snow leopards together, there actually is no term for a group of snow leopards. They are capable of killing prey up to three times their own weight and eat blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas, deer and other small mammals. The animals which snow leopards typically hunt — such as the Argali sheep — are also hunted by local communities.

Lots of people do forget that it is often by their own actions that wild animals come closer to the human habitat or come to find food by people. In Central Asia like in other parts of the world wild animals their natural prey becomes harder to find because man over-hunting. Snow leopards are often forced to kill livestock for survival, in many cases leading to retaliatory killings of snow leopards by local farmers or herders.

Machhapuchhare, a peak in the Great Himalaya Range, north-central Nepal.

Machhapuchhare, a peak in the Great Himalaya Range, north-central Nepal.

Hunting, habitat loss, retaliatory killings, poaching and climate change are the biggest threats that snow leopards face. Snow leopard habitat range continues to decline from human settlement and increased use of grazing space. An other factor where humans are the cause of the disturbance in nature is pollution and climate change. Climate change poses perhaps the greatest long-term threat to snow leopards. Impacts from climate change could result in a loss of up to 30% of the snow leopard habitat in the Himalayas alone.

It is not because we are living far away from their habitat we can not do anything to help those endangered species.

People all over the world could let their voice been heard. They could ask governments in the 12 countries across the leopard’s range to  increase the funds available to compensate herders whose animals are killed and to educate them, showing good ways of keeping nature in balance. all over the world people could help to build up funds to protect the animals and to help the population to receive extra materials to strengthen the pens, or corrals, where they keep their animals at night.

Focusing on herders – the bedrock of the local economy – also makes sense in regions where it is hard for rangers to protect leopards.

“These are very remote areas, so getting information on what’s going on and enforcement is very difficult,”

says Sharma.

“That’s why we need to focus more on community-based models, not just enforcement.”

snow leopard blends into landscape

David_lawson_wwf_uk

Snow leopards play a key role as both top predator and as an indicator of the health of their high-altitude habitat. If snow leopards thrive, so will countless other species.

WWF’s work focuses on reducing human-leopard conflict and rural development, education for sustainable development, stopping mining in fragile snow leopard habitat, and the control of illegal wildlife trade. WWF also works with local communities to curb retaliatory kills by providing innovative solutions to mitigate human-snow leopard conflict.

***

Adopt a Snow LeopardAdopt a Snow Leopard

You can support WWF (WWF Europe) which works with local people and supports research and habitat conservation projects to protect these beautiful cats throughout their range.

Make a symbolic snow leopard adoption to help save some of the world’s most endangered animals from extinction and support WWF’s conservation efforts. In Belgium you may deduct your contribution from your income and for the adoption of an animal you can give once whatever you like or contribute a certain amount monthly.

 +

Save Europe’s nature

 
	© WWF

The EU Nature Directives protect over 26,000 nature areas and 1,000 species. They are under scrutiny since October 2013, when European Commission announced the fitness check. Here’s what is at stake

***

+

Please do find to read:

  1. An Ounce of Prevention: Snow Leopard Crime Revisited – by Kristin Nowell, Juan Li, Mikhail Paltsyn and Rishi Kumar Sharma, Traffic Report
  2. Where do snow leopards live? And nine other snow leopard facts
  3. Hundreds of snow leopards being killed every year, report warns
  4. Hundreds of endangered wild snow leopards are killed each year

+++

Further reading

  1. Yara
  2. Tajikistan 2016
  3. Ghost of the Mountain
  4. Dailies: Snow Leopard
  5. Daily Cuteness by
  6. The Snow Leopards of Zhaxilawu Temple
  7. Snow leopards and sustainability
  8. Ramble 123: 5 reasons why snow leopards are my spirit animals
  9. Born in China (2017): New Trailer For Snow Leopard, Panda & Monkey Documentary From Disneynature
  10. Tracking the mystery of snow leopard populations
  11. Hundreds of snow leopards being killed every year, report warns
  12. The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill
  13. Cambridge’s postgraduate pioneers
  14. It’s Saturday!
  15. Get wild in the city: The Saint Louis Zoo
  16. Weirdos at Korkeasaari – Helsinki Zoo
  17. Central Park Zoo
  18. Telos is in Trouble: Lucy the T-rex and the Snow Leopards
  19. Save Endangered Snow Leopards and Their Habitat
  20. Help me save snow leopards!
  21. Wild Animals 
  22. Get Wild for Wildlife!
  23. tiger cubs
  24. Amur Leopards
  25. Bobcat Invasion
  26. I am not wearing camoflague
  27. Interesting facts about lions.
  28. Destination #2 : Refuge Pageau
  29. Wild Animal Training: A Glance at Circuses and Hediger’s Viewpoint
  30. Animals Don’t Belong At The Circus
  31. National Animal Safety and Protection Month
  32. Surfin’ Safari
  33. “TripAdvisor.com ends bookings to animal attractions”
  34. Take Care of the Animals!
  35. Lions, Tigers & Bears…Oh my!!! I ❤️ you all Ueno!!🇯🇵✌🏽️🐼🐯🦁
  36. Bald Eagle Rescued After Getting Trapped In Car’s Grill — CBS San Francisco
  37. This Real-Life Revenant Was Attacked By A Bear Twice In One Morning
  38. Grandview Aquarium, China
  39. Keep The Fox Hunting Ban
  40. Report Animal Cruelty

+++

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Ecological affairs, Nature, Pictures of the World

2 responses to “Ghosts of the mountains endangered big cat

  1. Excellent and very interesting.

    Like

  2. Thanks so much for referencing my blog post, “Get wild in the city: The Saint Louis Zoo.” I enjoyed your article, and hope that it will help educate others about these beautiful, endangered cats.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s