Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Snow Leopards -- Precious Felines of Asia's Snow Bound Mountains

Introduction :

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing about Snow Leopards and their Conservation.

Bound to Craggy Cliffs, Snow Leopards have always been present at "Low Densities" but what is shocking is their "Mass Slaughter" by Poachers in recent years in India, China, and Mongolia.

The Daily Mail -- A British Tabloid reported in March 2017 that Poachers in India kill 45 Snow Leopards a Year.

That is "Terrible". It is bad enough that there are only 500-600 Snow Leopards at the most in the Wild in India specially in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu and Kashmir to mention a few.

These Wild Cats continue to be killed for their "Magnificent Coats" worth a fortune in the Black Market and for their Bones which are promoted as "Tonics" in South - East Asia.

Their Prey :

Snow Leopards prey on Herbivorous Hoofed Wildlife such as Ibex, Argali, Urial Sheep, Blue Sheep, as well as Goat Antelopes known as Gorals and Serows as well as Tibetan Antelopes, numerous Gazelles, Musk Deer etc.

Snow Leopards are a "Key Indicator" of the well being of the Alpine and Sub- Alpine Ecosystem.

They influence the numbers and whereabouts of "Hoofed Herbivorous Herds" over a long period of time.

Thus, It can be said that the Snow Leopard is a "Keystone Species" in more ways than one.

Conclusion :

It has to be said right here and now that Snow Leopards control the number of Wild Sheep and Wild Goats that otherwise might overrun and overgraze Grasslands within Snow Bound Mountains.

Is there a Future for Wild Snow Leopards particularly in India ??

Going by reports concerning their poaching, It does not seem like. Yet, Snow Leopards have that uncanny ability to survive in dire circumstances.

Only Strict Conservation and Strict Protection can protect them for future generations to come.

We should have a "Vested Interest" in keeping Snow Leopards alive simply and solely for the reason that they control the population of Wild Herbivores.

Credits :

Out of the Shadows by Douglas Chadwick
Pages 114-120, National Geographic Magazine
June 2008, Vol -213, N0-6

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