Snow leopard: Difference between revisions

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==Description==
 
==Description==
Weighing usually 35 to 55 kilograms,<ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref> the snow leopard is slightly smaller on average than a leopard<ref name="Mammals of the soviet union">* V. G. Heptner: ''Mammals of the Sowjetunion Vol. II, Part 2, CARNIVORA (Hyenas and Cats)''. Leiden, New York, 1989 ISBN 9004088768</ref>. Exceptional large males can weigh up to 75 kg, very small females weigh only 25 kg<ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref>. The head and body length is 100 to 130 cm, the shoulder height is about 60 cm <ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref>. The tail measures 80 to 100 cm and is proportionately longer than in any other cat species of comparable size. It helps to maintain its balance on the rugged terrain and unstable surfaces of its habitat and is used to cover its nose and mouth in very cold conditions. The head of the Snow Leopard is relatively small, however the male's head is usually much squarer and wider than that of the female. The big furry feet act as [[snowshoes]], like those of the [[lynx]]es. The snow leopard has gray-and-white thick [[fur]] with numerous [[rosettes]] on the flanks and spots on the head and neck<ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref>.
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Wasup Yall hiiiii Weighing usually 35 to 55 kilograms,<ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref> the snow leopard is slightly smaller on average than a leopard<ref name="Mammals of the soviet union">* V. G. Heptner: ''Mammals of the Sowjetunion Vol. II, Part 2, CARNIVORA (Hyenas and Cats)''. Leiden, New York, 1989 ISBN 9004088768</ref>. Exceptional large males can weigh up to 75 kg, very small females weigh only 25 kg<ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref>. The head and body length is 100 to 130 cm, the shoulder height is about 60 cm <ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref>. The tail measures 80 to 100 cm and is proportionately longer than in any other cat species of comparable size. It helps to maintain its balance on the rugged terrain and unstable surfaces of its habitat and is used to cover its nose and mouth in very cold conditions. The head of the Snow Leopard is relatively small, however the male's head is usually much squarer and wider than that of the female. The big furry feet act as [[snowshoes]], like those of the [[lynx]]es. The snow leopard has gray-and-white thick [[fur]] with numerous [[rosettes]] on the flanks and spots on the head and neck<ref name="Walker">{{cite book | last = Nowak | first = Ronald M. | title = Walker's Mammals of the World | publisher = [[Johns Hopkins University Press]] | date = 1999 | id = ISBN 0-8018-5789-9}}</ref>.
   
 
==Ecology==
 
==Ecology==

Revision as of 19:40, 19 February 2008

Snow Leopard[1]
Uncia uncia.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Uncia
Species: U. uncia
Binomial name
Uncia uncia
(Schreber, 1775)
Snow leopard range.png
Range map
Synonyms

Uncia uncia

The Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia), sometimes known as the ounce, is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia from Afghanistan to Lake Baikal and eastern Tibet. The taxonomic position of this species has been subject to change. In the past, many taxonomists included the snow leopard in the genus Panthera, with several of the other largest felids, but later it was placed in its own genus, Uncia. However, a recent molecular study places the species firmly within the genus Panthera, although the exact position remains unclear.[3] Along with the Clouded Leopard, it represents an intermediate between so-called big cats and smaller species, as it cannot roar, despite possessing an incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone, which was thought to be essential in allowing the big cats to roar. However, new studies show that the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx, which are absent in the Snow Leopard.[4] Well known for its beautiful fur, the snow leopard has a whitish-tan coat with ringed spots of dark, ashy-brown and rosettes of black. Its tail is heavy with fur and the bottom of its paws are covered with fur for protection against snow and cold. The life span of a snow leopard is normally 15-18 years, but in captivity they can live up to 20 years.

Description

Wasup Yall hiiiii Weighing usually 35 to 55 kilograms,[4] the snow leopard is slightly smaller on average than a leopard[5]. Exceptional large males can weigh up to 75 kg, very small females weigh only 25 kg[4]. The head and body length is 100 to 130 cm, the shoulder height is about 60 cm [4]. The tail measures 80 to 100 cm and is proportionately longer than in any other cat species of comparable size. It helps to maintain its balance on the rugged terrain and unstable surfaces of its habitat and is used to cover its nose and mouth in very cold conditions. The head of the Snow Leopard is relatively small, however the male's head is usually much squarer and wider than that of the female. The big furry feet act as snowshoes, like those of the lynxes. The snow leopard has gray-and-white thick fur with numerous rosettes on the flanks and spots on the head and neck[4].

Ecology

In summer, the snow leopard usually lives above the tree line on mountainous meadows and in rocky regions at an altitude of 2.700 to 6000 m. In winter, it comes down into the forests at an altitude of about 2000 m. It leads largely a solitary life, although mothers can rear cubs for extended periods of time in cave dens in the mountains. It is an opportunistic feeder, eating whatever meat it can find and kills animals three times its size, including domestic livestock. Its diet consists mainly of ibexes, the Bharal, the Markhor, the Urial, deer, boars, as well as pikas, marmots and other small rodents. It ambushes prey from above when possible, as it can jump as far as 14 meters (46 feet).[6] Its agility often proves helpful when ambushing prey and traversing through mountains.

An individual snow leopard lives within a well defined home range. However, it does not defend its range aggressively when encroached upon by other individuals. Home ranges can vary greatly in size. In Nepal, where prey is abundant, a home range can be as small as 12-39 km² and up to 5 to 10 animals are found here per 100 km²; whereas, in habitats with sparse prey, an area of 1,000 km² supports only 5 of this cats[4].

Range

The snow leopard's range in central and south Asia is rugged mountainous regions of approximately 1,230,000 square kilometers, which extends through 12 countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Tibet, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The geographic distribution streches from the Hindukush in eastern Afghanistan and the Syr Darya through the mountains of Pamir Tien Shan, Karakorum, Kashmir, Kunlun, and the Himalaya to southern Siberia, where the range covers the russian Altai, Sajan, Tannu-Ola Mountains and the mountains to the west of Lake Baikal. In Mongolia it is found in the Mongolian and Gobi Altai and the Khangai Mountains. In Tibet it is found up to to the Altyn-Tagh in the North[5].

Population and conservation

Snow Leopard at zoo d'Amnéville, France
Snow Leopard

The total estimated wild population of the snow leopard is between 4,000 and 7,500 individuals (see table below). In addition, there are 600-700 animals in zoos around the world.[7]

Range Country Habitat Area
(sq. km.)
Estimated
Population
Afghanistan 50,000 N/A
Bhutan 15,000 100-200
China 1,100,000 2,000-5,000
India 75,000 200-600
Kazakhstan 50,000 100-200
Kyrgyz Republic 105,000 150-500
Mongolia 101,000 500-1000
Nepal 30,000 300-500
Pakistan 80,000 200-420
Russia N/A N/A
Tajikistan 100,000 180-220
Uzbekistan 10,000 20-50
Snow leopard in the San Diego Zoo.


Protected Areas:

Much progress has been made in securing the survival of the snow leopard, with snow leopards being successfully bred in captivity. The animals usually give birth to 2 to 3 cubs in a litter, but can give birth to up to 7 in some cases.

Snow leopard in heraldry

Aq Bars is the coat of arms of Tatarstan. It is an ancient Turkic and Bolgar symbol translated as "white leopard" or "snow leopard"
Snow leopard as a symbol of Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The snow leopard (almost invariably known in heraldry as the ounce) (Aq Bars) is a national symbol for Tatars and Kazakhs: a snow leopard is found on the official seal of the city of Almaty, and a winged Snow Leopard is found on Tatarstan's coat of arms. A similar leopard is featured at the coat of arms of North Ossetia-Alania. The Snow Leopard award was given to Soviet mountaineers who scaled all five of the Soviet Union's 7000m peaks. In addition, the snow leopard is the symbol of the Girl Scout Association of Kyrgyzstan.

References

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 548. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Cat Specialist Group (2002). "Uncia uncia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 11 May 2006. 
  3. ^ Johnson, W.E., Eizirik, E., Pecon-Slattery, J., Murphy, W.J., Antunes, A., Teeling, E. & O'Brien, S.J. 2006. The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: A genetic assessment. Science 311: 73-77; access date = September 26, 2006
  4. ^ a b c d e f Nowak, Ronald M. (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9. 
  5. ^ a b * V. G. Heptner: Mammals of the Sowjetunion Vol. II, Part 2, CARNIVORA (Hyenas and Cats). Leiden, New York, 1989 ISBN 9004088768
  6. ^ "Animal Bytes: snow leopard". San Diego Zoo. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  7. ^ "Habitat and Range". Snow Leopard Trust. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  8. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Centre Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks. Brief Description. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  9. ^ snow leopard Conservancy. 2006. Training park managers in the conservation of snow leopards. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  10. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Center. Sagarmatha National Park: Brief Description. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  11. ^ Snow Leopard Network. 2005. Camera Trapping of Snow Leopards in the Muzat Valley. Retrieved 27 November 2006.

External links

Template:Felidae nav