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about 200–300 survive in Afghanistan, where their status is poorly known;
fewer than 10–13 survive in Armenia;
fewer than 10–13 survive in Azerbaijan;
fewer than 5 survive in Georgia;
about 550–850 live in Iran, which is the leopard stronghold in Southwest Asia;
about 3–4 survive in Nagorno-Karabakh;
fewer than 10 survive in the Russian North Caucasus;
fewer than 5 survive in Turkey;
about 78–90 live in Turkmenistan.
Their habitat consists of subalpine meadows, broadleaved forests and rugged ravines from 600–3,800 metres (2,000–12,500 ft) in the Greater Caucasus, and rocky slopes, mountain steppes, and sparse juniper forests in the Lesser Caucasus and Iran. Only some small and isolated populations remain in the whole ecoregion. Suitable habitat in each range country is limited and most often situated in remote border areas. Local populations depend on immigration from source populations in the south, mainly in Iran.
The Persian leopard is a flag-ship species. Its presence is a sign of the health of the entire ecosystem.
The war torn country is home to a vigorous population of snow leopards. The World Conservation Society recently laid a number of camera traps in the Wakhan Corridor. This mountainous area is a long panhandle in the north east of the country and the camera traps captured snow leopards on film in sixteen places....
That isn’t the last of their worries either. Many of these fuzzy-tailed felines are caught and sold by the illegal pet trade. Then there is the Chinese problem. Their bones and penises are in high demand by the bourgeoning middle classes of China. It is believed that ingestion of their body parts increase sexual performance in humans.
The presence, absence, or relative well-being of an indicator species in its environment indicates the heath of the surrounding ecosystem as a whole. Being one of the top predators in the high mountain food web of Central Asia, the Snow Leopard helps to keep the ecosystem in balance by preying on marmots, ibexes and other native herbivores. If there are too many herbivores in the area, they will degrade the alpine meadows, leaving no food for both wild herbivores and domesticated livestock. If Snow Leopards disappear from the area, the rest of the ecosystem will fall apart.
There are many ancient beliefs and traditions surrounding the Snow Leopard in areas where they are commonly found. Many have been preserved for centuries and are still incorporated into some religious rituals today.
Nepal: In northern Nepalese societies, many indigenous and shamanistic practices incorporate the Snow Leopard. Some folklore describes Snow Leopards as a "fence" for crops, meaning that if there are none around, native animals would be free to invade crop fields. Other inhabitants believe Snow Leopards are born to remove sins from past lives, and that killing one means transferring their sins to your own life.
Tibet: Milarepa, one of Tibet's most famous poets and yogis, is said to have transformed himself into a Snow Leopard while stranded on a mountain in the winter. By doing this, he was able to survive six months until his disciples could travel up the mountain and search for him.
The Wakhi: The Wakhi are a group of people native to northern Pakistan, China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. They believe that supernatural beings, called mergichan, inhabit the high mountains of the region. The mergichan are holy and very powerful, and so the area they inhabit is pure and sacred. The Wakhi believe the mergichan often take the form of a Snow Leopard, since the animal exemplifies many of the qualities of the mergichan: elusive, powerful, beautiful, and potentially dangerous.
--The Snow Leopard is on IUCN's red list of Endangered species. There are only 3 000-7 000 snow leopards left in the wild.
--Because of their unique and beautiful fur, there is a demand for snow leopard fur coats, hats, etc....
--Since their prey and food supply is being hunted and poisoned they kill farm animals; the angered farmers usually shoot the snow leopards for this.
FFI reports that habitat loss and poaching have caused at least a 20 percent decline in snow leopard populations in the past 16 years.
Scientific American writes that scientists in Australia have created "embryonic stem-like cells from the tissue of an endangered adult snow leopard." The scientists' (theoretical) goal is to help save endangered big cat species by reproducing them in labs.
...Morons who think eating their penis will make them better lovers.
Originally posted by ofhumandescent
reply to post by Unity_99
What a beautiful big kitty
Wouldn't want that cat near my little Lucy though Lucy is my little petite 45 pound Liver colored English Pointer.
Thanks for sharing, very interesting information!
Looking into this being's eyes, makes me wonder about man's arrogance and how intelligent these animals really are?
How could anyone want to kill one of these beautiful majestic creatures simply for their fur