The conditions were very dark where I got this capture and it was this 18 year old Snow Leopard's lunchtime of a rabbit. Why are snow leopards special? Snow Leopards are one of the most beautiful and mystical wild cats. They have a proud bearing and people are drawn to their unusual white/gray color. Snow leopards are also very elusive and few people have seen them in the wild. They are rare and endangered and live in some of the most extreme high altitude and cold climate on earth. How many Snow Leopards are left in the wild? Researchers and conservationists estimate there are only between 3000 to 6000 snow leopards still surviving. They live in the rugged mountainous regions of 12 countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

They are on the red list due mainly from the threat of man; well that's not a surprise. Humans have for centuries hunted them for their fur and their bones; fur to wear as coats and hats, and bones to be used in traditional medicines. Humans also destroy snow leopard habitat and food sources by killing the prey animals they need to feed on. When the natural wild prey animals are not available snow leopards will often kill and eat domestic livestock like sheep and goats belonging to villagers they share the mountains with. When this happens the villagers will in turn kill the snow leopard to protect their livestock, which is often the only resource standing between them and poverty.

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