An alarming new report on the endangered snow leopard indicates that this species may not be around for much longer.
A new report on the endangered snow leopard is making waves in the scientific community. It shows that the protected species is still getting killed at an alarming rate by poachers despite efforts to protect them, and if things don’t turn around soon, the species could be gone forever at some point in the near future.
There are only an estimated 4,000 snow leopards in the wild, and a new report from wildlife trade-monitoring organization TRAFFIC found that poachers killed 450 of these cats since 2008, and that figure is a low estimate that may not factor in animals killed that weren’t detected.
Poachers value snow leopards for their fur and bones. The majestic cats are also threatened by livestock herders, who kill the animals as they perceive them as threat to their flocks. In addition, snow leopards are losing their habitat due to global warming.
“Based on the average number of cases known to experts over the average of nine years spent working in their geographic areas of knowledge, 221-450 Snow Leopards were estimated to have been poached annually since 2008,” the report states. “With the average rate of poaching detection estimated by experts at less than 38%, these numbers could be substantially higher.
“Of these, 55% are killed in retaliation for livestock depredation, 21% killed for trade and 18% taken by non-targeted methods such as snares,” it continues. “Although retaliatory killing is estimated to account for roughly half of Snow Leopard poaching (55%), experts estimate that there is a 50-50 chance (48%) that a poaching attempt will take place after a depredation incident. On average, experts estimate that 60% of retaliatory and non-targeted poaching incidents result in an attempt to sell; accounting for differences in this estimate between countries, a total of 108-219 Snow Leopards potentially enter into illegal trade. Over 90% of annual Snow Leopard poaching is estimated to occur in five range countries: China (103-236), Mongolia (34-53), Pakistan (23-53), India (21-45) and Tajikistan (20-25).”