Nick

Panthera Uncia, also comonly known as the Snow Leopard. The nickname for a snow leopard is an "ounce."

Description:
The Snow Leopard is a mammal, specifically a large cat, even though they are typically smaller than other cats like themselves. The Snow Leopards show multiple adaptions that they have made to survive in the ie cold, mountainous habitat. They have a stocky build, thick fur, and small ears that minimize heat loss. They have wide feet, which helps them walk on snow. Their fur ranges from a grey to yellow tan with white undersides. They have black spots all over that are small on their head and back, and large on their legs and tail. The leopards are carnivores that prey on small animals, mainy sheep. Although they actively hunt, they are, like all cats, oppurtunistic feeders, meaning they eat whatever meat they can find. They breed like most cats, having a litter of one to five cubs, even though two or three cubs are more common.

Habitat:
The Snow Leopard can be found in the mountains of Central Asia. They extend through twelve countries; Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ubekistan. 60% of the Snow Leapords left are found in China and they have almost disappeared from Mongolia. They also live at extremely high altitudes. They are not migratory, but they follow some of their prey on their migratory patterns. Snow Leopards live above ground and do not hibernate because they have extremely thick fur which allows them to live in the year-long cold climate. The Snow Leapords have no natural predators
external image SnowLeopard_550x400.jpg
Problems:
The Snow Leopard has been endangered since 1972 for multiple reasons. Snow Leopards live where the tree line stops and the snow line begins, and with the increasing global warming crisis, the snow line is decreasing. This is forcing the Snow Leopards to move farther up the mountain where vegitation is scare, which means less small animals and rodents live there, which is what the Snow Leopards feed on. Therefore, the Leopards have trouble finding an adequate amount of food. The fur of a Snow Leopard is very valuable in the Asian culture, so they are very often illegaly poached. Also, the bones and organs of the Snow Leopard are used in tradition Asian medicine, so when one has the oppurtunity, it is likely they will kill the Leopard.

Solutions:
As of right now, there are not many solutions to protect the Snow Leopards. Currently, some programs go to farmers and explain to them how to coexist peacefully with them. They are so secluded and adapted to their current environment, it would be difficult to move them and have them adjust to a completely new environment. There is no breeding program because that isnt the problem; the problem is the scarcity of food on the mountains they live on. One program that has become very active in the preservation of Snow Leopards is the Defenders of Wildlife.


File:Uncia uncia.jpg
File:Uncia uncia.jpg

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Leopard
"Snow Leopard"
http://www.snowleopard.org/catfactsclassroom/catfacts/habitatandrange
"Snow Leopard Trust"
http://www.snowleopardconservancy.org/kids/text/endangered.htm
"Snow Leopards for Kids"
http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/snow_leopard.php
"Defenders of Wildlife"