Given the immense scale of the climate crisis and some other factors, there is a danger of many animal species going extinct. Snow Leopard is one of them, with fewer than 10,000 mature leopards worldwide, which are expected to reduce further by 10 percent in less than two decades. They are found in 12 countries in Northern & Central Asia: China, Pakistan, India, Russia, etc. These ghosts of the mountains have been listed as Vulnerable by the (IUCN) International Union for Conservation of Nature. Save the Snow Leopard isn’t just about saving an endangered animal.
It's also about protecting the whole Himalayan Ecosystem, which is the source of three majestic rivers and lots of fresh water. Ecosystems work like a chain, and if one link is broken, the whole chain gets disturbed, and restoring it might become impossible.
Therefore, we'll discuss how you can help save the Snow Leopard & why their conservation is crucial for the planet.
Why are they Endangered?
Endangered species are threatened by extinction. There can be multiple reasons why a particular specie is endangered. Let’s find out the key components pushing the extinction of snow leopards.
One of the major reasons behind the decline in the snow leopard population is their continuous poaching. They have beautiful fur, which is admired by many. Moreover, their bones are used in traditional Asian medicines.
Although tiger bones are preferred for making these medicines, the population of tigers has declined so dramatically that poachers have now resorted to targeting snow leopards. It’s also crucial to note that a single hunt can bring big bucks, which is also a big attraction for hunters.
Conflicts with Communities
Herds are a major source of livelihood for communities occupying mountainous regions. Sometimes snow leopards get the chance to attack livestock which brings retaliation from local communities in the form of hunting. One of the reasons why snow leopards attack livestock is that their natural prey has declined in numbers significantly in recent years due to hunting, habitat loss, etc.
Snow leopards thrive in vast natural habitats, but that's no longer the reality given the expanding human population with their livestock. With that, new roads and mines are also being built. , Thus, snow leopard conservation has been further complex.
Climate change is a considerable threat the world is facing. It exacerbates the problems described above and also endangers the livelihood of communities who live in mountainous regions.
How to Save Snow Leopard From Extinction?
There’re a lot of things we can collectively do to save the snow leopard.
Support Snow Leopard Conservation Charities
One way to save the snow leopard is to help those who are at the forefront of snow leopard conservation efforts, such as charities & societies. Read about them, learn about their mission, and understand how they're trying to help. You should definitely donate to them to make a difference.
Besides donations, you can also volunteer for them in different capacities because they always need volunteers who are passionate about their mission and are willing to put in the needed effort.
You can also buy merchandise sold by wildlife conservation charities to save the snow leopard. Some artisans produce unique handicrafts which you can buy. It gives a message that saving snow leopards would reward them, so they make more efforts in that regard.
Learn about Snow Leopards & Educate Others
An important contribution you can make to save the snow leopard is to learn about what they're and what threatens them, such as climate change, mining, poaching, etc. Once you have the necessary relevant information, educate others on how they can contribute to this cause too.
Be a Responsible Tourist
Littering in natural habitats can wreak havoc on the environment and harm animals living there. People often throw plastic bottles, wrappers, etc., carelessly, which later negatively affects other living organisms.
Don't Use Snow Leopard Products
Snow leopards have always been illegally traded, and that's one of the biggest reasons why they're a vulnerable species today. Their skin & bones are used for various purposes. You need to stop buying products made from them to put a stop to these heinous crimes.
Why Should We Save Snow Leopards?
Saving snow leopards is critical because it plays an important role in the overall conservation of the planet.
Barometer of Ecological Health
Snow leopards sit at the top of the food chain in mountainous regions. Mountains such as the Himalayas are home to snow leopards and provide a huge amount of fresh water to the populations in Central Asia.
Similarly, these habitats provide everything to local communities, such as food, shelter, fuel, heat, etc. Any disturbance in these ecosystems disrupts the lives of the local population, ultimately affecting snow leopards too. Saving snow leopards means protecting the habitat and ensuring water security for millions of people.
Due to their vulnerable status, snow leopards can bring multiple regions and countries together for their conservation. It is a good start that can lead to much broader, collective efforts to save natural habitats and restore health to regions destroyed by climate change.
Empowering Local Communities
Snow leopard habitats are usually top tourist & trekking destinations, with thousands visiting them annually. Conserving snow leopards means protecting these habitats, which results in a lot of eco-tourism.
More tourism means more economic activity for the local communities, who are often living in poverty. Without economically empowering local communities, sustainable action for snow leopard conservation and climate change mitigation isn't possible.
The Bottom Line
As we have discussed in this article, snow leopards are a critical part of the natural habitats in some parts of the world. Without them, these natural ecosystems would start collapsing, affecting animal and human populations alike.
There has been a quick decline in the population of snow leopards for several reasons, which should be a cause of concern for everyone. To save the lives of snow leopards, both personal and collective efforts are the need of the hour.