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frankzappa

snow leopard (Panthera uncia)

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Though it’s called a leopard—and certainly resembles a frosted version of those spotted habitués of more equatorial regions—the snow leopard is actually more closely related to the tiger, at least per genetic analysis. Probably fewer than 6,500 remain in the wild, though due to the remote mountainous terrain preferred by the species, and its elusive nature, data is hard to come by. The largest populations are in China and Mongolia, with significant populations in India and Kyrgyzstan as well. Its natural prey include blue sheep and ibex, but in some areas, it is heavily dependent on domestic animals. The farmers who depend upon the animals shoot the “problem” leopards. Poaching still constitutes a major threat to the species, as does overhunting of its natural prey species.

snow leopard.jpg

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