By Malik Ayub Sumbal
Amongst the family of large cats, Panthera Uncia or the Snow Leopard is one of the most charismatic species. Like most animal species with a majestic skin, the snow leopard is at the verge of extinction. The animal is listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Since its most common habitat is Central Asia, the Snow leopard is considered an indicator of health for the mountainous ecosystem in the region. This mountain cat loves to reside 6000 metres above sea level. The best estimate of global snow leopard population is 4,000–6,500. About 200-240 of them live in Pakistan’s Northern Mountains across Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KPK), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Pakistan represents the world’s third largest population of snow leopard by size.
The only organisation working for the protection of Snow Leopard in Pakistan is the Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF). The organisation has committed to secure this endangered species targeted for its miraculous beauty. Snow Leopard Foundation is affiliated internationally with the SLT. The majority of the donations for the protection of Snow Leopards come from the United States (US).
Snow Leopard Foundation was registered back in 2005. In their limited resources they have done a tremendous job to save the Snow Leopards and other endangered cats in Pakistan.
The trail cameras technology introduced by them takes random snaps of the Snow Leopard. Just five years back there was only one snapshot of Pakistani Snow Leopard available, now this technology has provided with hundreds of pictures.
According to a new study by the SLT, Snow Leopards in Pakistan are threatened by the poachers from Afghanistan so trans-boundary cooperation is required for the protection of this endangered species. More....