High in the lofty peaks of Nepal, a rare, elusive cat sits curled on a rocky ledge overlooking a deep, rugged valley. A cold wind wisps frozen snow into the thin air, creating a dazzling silver shower against a brilliant azure sky. It’s quiet up high, just the occasional crack of a distant glacier, a few rocks dancing down the shoulders of near-vertical mountains. Across the valley, a herd of blue sheep, the cat’s favorite food, grazes peacefully on a steep southern slope. Piercing feline eyes are fixed on nothing but see everything. There are no people in sight, just miles and miles of snow-clad peaks in every direction—a sign that all is well at the roof of the world. The big cat rises contentedly, rubs at the knees of the mountain gods, then disappears. Tracks, vanishing into the snowy mist, are the only evidence it was really there. This near-mythic beast is the snow leopard, the highest mammalian predator and symbol of all that is free and truly wild in the mightiest mountains on earth—its presence, its aura, a living soul given to citadels of stone and ice. Introduction Giving Voice to the Snow Leopard. Like no other large cat, the snow leopard evokes a sense of myth and mysticism, strength and spirit. A mystery cat shrouded in a snowy veil, seldom seen but always present. To the West, the snow leopard is a cat of strange, foreign lands, a prowler of high peaks, symbol of survival in the high mountains. To Asia, the snow leopard is embedded in ancient lore and lately has become the symbol of unity and conservation For local people who share its mountain realm, there is respect and fear. Not personal fear, for the snow leopard doesn’t harm humans, but fear of the occasional night stalker that kills precious livestock, the literal lifeblood of existence for those hardy souls who share the snow leopard’s world.
The Snow Leopard ( uncia uracia ) is a charismatic flagship species promoting mountain biodiversity conservation. This beautiful, but endangered cat , is a stricking symbol of world's highest places. It is also an environmental ambassador, for encouraging the establishment of trans -boundary national parks or protected areas and as an indicator of a healthy mountain ecosystem.
Physycal Features :
Medium to large sized cat about 60 cm at the soulder
Body-tail length of 1.8-2.3 meteres, with a tail almost a meter in length
Short, broad skull with an elevated forehead
Exquisite smoky-gray fur tinged with yellow and patterened with dark gray, open rosettes, and black spots
Males Weigh 45-55 Kg, Compared to 35-40 kg for females.
Pugmarks of adults are 9-11 cm in length and 7-9cm in width.
Potential Habitat and Distribution in Nepal
It may total as much as 30,000 sq.km. ( mountains above 3000m and below 5,400m )
Snow leopard are found chiefly along Nepal's northen border with the Tibet Autonomous Region, China.
The largest population are in Dolpo, Humla, Mugu, Manang, Mustang, and Myagdi Districts.
The Snow leopard habitat includes steep, broken mountainous regions in the alpine and sub-alpine zones, where vegetation is sparse.
Snow leopards avoid densely forested areas.