Snow leopards are endangered by hunters because the animals threaten their livestock. A new report from wildlife experts shows that each year, hundreds of wild cats are killed. They can be found in twelve different countries around the world, but none of them is safe for the animals. Their killing tendencies as predators draw the humans’ fury towards them.
A new survey from TRAFFIC accounts for the number of snow leopards in the wild. It seems like at most four thousand individuals are left in the wild. On the other hand, the Panthera group may have less than ten thousand members, as specialists explain.
The recent statistics also show the number of snow leopards that are killed every year. The rates are rather high, as hunters kill between two hundred and four hundred of the wild cats annually. The results combine findings from previous years as well and go back as much as 2008.
The new numbers published by the TRAFFIC survey are just an estimation, as specialists explain. The real numbers could exceed the ones reported. Experts in charged of the monitoring process inform us that it is difficult to keep track of the real numbers, even more, if illegal hunt and trade are involved.
Farmers are the main threat for snow leopards. They kill the wild cats because the animals feed on their cattle. According to specialists, a single big cat can kill no less than twenty goats and sheep in a herd, which causes massive damage for farmers.
Communities in the mountains face difficult weather and living conditions. They rely on their livestock for food and commerce. They don’t afford to lose their animals to wild predators, and this is why they take matters into their own hands and feel free to react.
On the other hand, snow leopards are not only hunted as a punishment for having killed the people’s cattle. There are people who hunt them for their claws, teeth, and pelts, which are traded illegally. Statistics point out that this is the reason behind twenty-one percent of the cases.
Snow leopards are also called ounce cats. They live in South and Central Asia. Countries such as Pakistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, China, and India are known for activities such as poaching. Ninety percent of the hunted leopards are tracked down to these states.
Wildlife experts understand that farmers don’t afford to lose their livestock. This is why they believe that special enclosures for cattle could be the solution so that their animals would be safe from predators. At the same time, this measure would curb the killing of snow leopards.
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