The Snow Leopard, affectionately known to wildlife experts as Panthera uncia, is on the most endangered species of big cats still left in the wild.
This beautiful big cat is found around the highlands of Central Asia, and it’s estimated that there’s between 3500 to 7000 left in the wild. Snow Leopards are considered medium-sized cats, and will grow up to about 50 inches in length, with a tail almost as long their body. They’re perfectly adapted to live in such extreme conditions. Their coats are long and thick to keep them warm, their paws are big and wide to help distribute their weight when walking on snow. Their tails are long to help keep balance when they’re navigating the rocky edges of a mountain, and it also acts like a blanket to keep their face warm when they rest.
This crepuscular hunter lives a solitary life (except when a mother is tending to her cubs), much like most other big cats. But unlike it’s cousins in other parts of the world, the Snow Leopard doesn’t roar, possibly due to an absence of a larynx.
In the IUCN Red List, the Snow Leopard is considered endangered, despite 600-700 living in captivity. Like it or not, being endangered means this species could possibly face extinction. Loss of habitat is one of the greatest threat, along with poaching, loss of prey and lack of effective protection could mean their numbers in the wild will continue to dwindle.
Today, Apple launched the much anticipated Mac OS 10.6, also called Snow Leopard. There’s been a lot of coverage of this OS and all the 106 reasons it can make your mac computing life better. However this big cat who inspired the Apple team to name their new OS after, is in serious need of good publicity.
We can help save these amazing animals simply by raising awareness of their plight and I hope as you read this on your spanking new OS, you’ll take some time to stop by the Snow Leopard Trust. They’ve been doing amazing work for the past 25 years, helping this amazing big cat through various conservation programs; most important of which is partnering with locals who live in the same regions as the big cat.