The World Wide Fund for Nature has released a statement saying that snow leopards are seriously threatened by climate change.
- Snow leopards are one of the most beautiful and majestic creatures
- Increasing temperature in the Himalayas is a danger to the snow leopard’s well being
The snow leopard is one of the big cats that is currently populating the high plateaus of the Himalayas, the Altai and Pamir Mountains. It is a member of the Panthera genus and it shows different body adaptations for living in cold temperatures. It has a long, thick fur, which varies in color from smoky gray to yellowish tan and their eyes are pale green or gray. Also, their ears are small and rounded, to minimize heat loss and their tails are long and strong. This particular feature helps them maintain an excellent balance within the high altitude rocky terrain they inhabit.
Unlike their other brothers in the Panthera genus, lions, panthers or tiger, the snow leopard cannot roar. They are also solitary creatures, except for mothers with cubs. They do live in well-defined patches of land, but they are not violent towards other snow leopards if their territory is crossed. Also, they are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are mostly active at dawn and in the evening.
The snow leopard has been part of the Red List of Threatened Species since 2003, because their numbers were estimated to somewhere between 5000 and 6000 adults, out of which less than half were capable of reproducing in the wild.
And now, they seem to be in even more trouble. The WWF says that parts of the snow leopard’s mountainous territory might become inhabitable because of global warming, if measures against that are not taken quickly.
The animal will not be able to survive in a warmer climate, because of the weather that is not going to be sufficiently cold for it and because plants and trees specific to the cold areas will not be able to exist either.
If the plants and trees cannot adapt to the warmer climate, they will die and so the forest line will reduce dramatically. This means that along with it other animal species that inhabit the forest might die or relocate to a colder place. By means of consequence, the snow leopard will not be able to hunt for food any more.
Therefore, the conclusion of the study reports that, if something is not done, the beautiful and elusive snow leopard will either disappear because of heat or because of starvation.
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