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20 Oct 2011 Leave a Comment
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07 Oct 2011 Leave a Comment
in humor, humour, Information, jokes, JustForFun., procrastinating Tags: Blog, Chilling, entertainment, fun, funny, images, information, joke, photography, pictures, procrastinating, Reasoning, self, sight
These are pretty clever. Don’t rush. Study each picture and try to determine what it represents before looking at the answer below the picture.
Put on your thinking caps.
The King of Pop
Get ‘em all?
Com’on be honest!
13 Sep 2011 1 Comment
in camera, Conservation, Dedication, determination, Documentary, Documentary/ Information, Information, Inspirational, Landscape, photograpy, pictures, Realisation, Wildlife Tags: beautiful, beauty, Blog, conservation, dedication, determination, endangered, images, Indian snow leopard, inspirational, landscape, photography, pictures, wildlife
These rare, beautiful gray leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia. They are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous leapers, able to jump as far as 50 feet (15 meters). They use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill.
Snow leopards prey upon the blue sheep (bharal) of Tibet and the Himalaya, as well as the mountain ibex found over most of the rest of their range. Though these powerful predators can kill animals three times their weight, they also eat smaller fare, such as marmots, hares, and game birds.
As these numbers indicate, snow leopards sometimes have a taste for domestic animals, which has led to killings of the big cats by herders.
These endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.
Height: About 2 feet (.6m) at shoulders.
Length: 6-7.5 feet (1.8-2.3m) (includes 40-inch (1m) tail length).
Weight: 77-120 lbs (35-55 kg).
Female snow leopards are about 30% smaller than males.
Lifespan: Their reclusive nature makes it hard to determine snow leopard lifespan in the wild. They have, however, been known to live for as long as 21 years in captivity.
Distribution The strikingly beautiful snow leopard remains one of the most mysterious cats in the world. This roving, high altitude cat is rarely sighted by local people. Because it is so elusive, accurate population numbers are hard to come by, although estimates range from 100 to 200 individuals. Snow leopards live in the mountain regions of central Asia. In India their geographical cover encompasses a large part of the Western Himalaya including the states of Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Uttarakhand with a sizable population in Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh in Eastern Himalaya in addition to Nepal, Bhutan and parts of China.
Snow leopards primarily hunt wild sheep and goats. Snow leopards are also known to eat smaller animals like rodents, hares and game birds.
Very rare in most of their range, an estimated 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards are left in the wild, with 600-700 in zoos around the world. Exact numbers in the wild have not been determined due to the snow leopard’s shy nature.
Snow Leopards prefer steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrops and ravines. This type of habitat provides good cover and clear view to help them sneak up on their prey. They are found at high elevations of 3000-4500 meters (9800 ft to 14800 ft.), and even higher in the Himalayas. The snowy peaks act as a camouflage for the animal.
Snow Leopards are considered medium-sized cats, standing about 24 inches at the shoulder and weighing around 30-55kg. Their exquisite smoky-gray fur patterned with dark-gray to black rosettes, camouflage them against rocky slopes. Snow Leopards are shy and elusive and inhabit a definite home range. The species usually mate between January and March, a time when both sexes mark intensively, leaving signs such as scrapes,
feces, urine and scent-spray in prominent locations along their travel routes. The animal is most active at dawn and dusk. Like most species of cats, Snow Leopards are solitary animals, though sometimes male and female pairs might be seen together during mating season.
Mating Season: Between January and mid-March.
Gestation: period 3-3 ½ months.
Litter size: 2-3 cubs.
Females give birth in rocky dens lined with their fur. The young follow their mother on hunts at three months and remain with her through their first winter.
What comes as a major challenge for the protection of this species, is poaching. Snow Leopards are poached illegally for their pelts, which have a huge market in Tibet. Their bones and other body parts are also in huge demand for use in traditional Asian medicines .
Due to continuous interference and intrusions by humans and domestic cattle, snow leopards at times stray from their habitat to enter the human territory to prey on domestic livestock. Herders in these areas live a precarious economic life and loss of even a single sheep, causes a real economic hardship. This has caused several cases of retaliatory killing of Snow Leopards in the past .
Habitat and Prey loss
As humans continue to push further into the mountainous areas with their livestock, the Snow Leopards’ habitat is getting boxed-in by increasing human intrusion. As humans push further into the mountainous areas with their livestock, the snow leopard’s habitat is getting degraded and fragmented. Overgrazing has damaged the fragile grasslands, leaving less food for the wild sheep and goats that are the Snow Leopard’s main prey.
Snow leopards are facing a distinct threat from global warming. Their typical habitat range is between where the tree line stops and the snow line begins on the mountains. As global warming warms the earth, snow lines are receding, which means that snow leopards must move further up the mountain slopes as well. As snow leopards get to higher elevations, the vegetation becomes more scarce, which means that the herbivores that they prey on are in limited supply as well, and the leopards are having trouble finding enough food.
Due to the high demand for their coats, snow leopards are also illegally hunted for the fur trade. The pelts are a sought-after commodity in places like Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia where they are turned into coats and other garments. Snow leopard bones and body parts are also used for traditional Asian medicine. As humans expand their farm and grazing areas for livestock herds they are encroaching more into the snow leopards territories resulting in increased conflict with humans when snow leopards attack livestock during times when their natural prey is scarce.
Much of the Snow Leopards’ habitat is extremely difficult to access. Found at very high altitude, studying the species and its current status and distribution is an extremely arduous task.
Status: The Snow Leopard is listed as endangered on the IUCN-World Conservation Union’s Red List of the Threatened Species. In addition, the Snow Leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries. It is also protected by several national laws in its range country.
Snow leopard is less studied than any other large felid such as tiger, lion and leopard in India. Its currently occupied range is poorly mapped based on the snow leopard’s high and inhospitable terrain. In India snow leopard presence is reported from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. In India studies had been conducted in some of the protected areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh but rest of the states such as Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunchal Pradesh and the unprotected areas of snow leopard distribution range had been still unexplored. Keeping this in view WWF-India initiated this project, “snow leopard conservation: An initiative”, in the states of Uttarakhand (UK) and some of the areas of Himachal Pradesh (HP) which never been explored for snow leopard on a landscape level. Here, we are gathering base-line information such as status and distribution of snow leopard, snow leopard-human conflicts and the biotic pressure on the snow leopard habitats. Hopefully, we will be coming soon with the consolidated list of the promising areas for long-term snow leopard conservation in UK and HP.
Although the Snow Leopard is internationally regarded and legally protected as an endangered species, currently there exist no effective measures to stop poaching and loss of habitat in Jammu & Kashmir. The Snow Leopard population of Jammu & Kashmir has increasingly come under pressure as a result of poaching for furs, loss of habitat caused by deforestation and dam projects, and loss of food sources caused by similar environmental pressures. In both Pakistan and India-administered Jammu & Kashmir, this threat to the Snow Leopard has developed.
The armed conflict of the last 8 years in Jammu & Kashmir has further exacerbated this problem as the soldiers and armed resistance groups have shown little regard for species preservation. The instability has also allowed for an illegal trade of furs. A 1994 raid on a group of traders in Srinagar that hauled more than $1 million worth of furs and garments made from 1,366 of the world’s most endangered wild cats, tigers, snow and clouded leopards and Bengal tigers indicated that the lack of effective measures to preserve endangered species has deteriorated further as a result of the 8 year old conflict. Cases like these reveal that the poaching of wildlife in Jammu & Kashmir’s forests and in other Himalayan regions has returned with a vengeance that threatens some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic animals after a period of curtailment of such poaching in recent decades. Under this situation, the Snow Leopard is directly threatened.
Reasons For Hope
The snow leopard was placed on the endangered species list in 1972 to help protect its dwindling numbers. Similar to Defenders work with predator species in the United States, conservation groups near snow leopard habitats are working with local farmers and herders to help foster a better understanding of how to co-exist with these animals and minimize conflicts between them.
The farmers are taught how to secure their barns and livestock holding areas against snow leopards and reimbursement programs have been set up to give the farmer fair market value for animals they have lost in return for allowing the snow leopards to live.
DID YOU KNOW?
07 Sep 2011 1 Comment
Ever so often, you come across the most mesmerizing sights, and what an injustice it would be to let them pass you by without you being able to capture them and share them with others who weren’t fortunate enough to visible witness them themselves?
A drive past one of Jim Corbett’s reserve parks
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07 Sep 2011 2 Comments
Have you ever just Gazed up into the sky, looked at the clouds, observed the sun, felt its rays, and wondered what divine power, which deity, what phenomenon can be responsible for creating colors and sights as beautiful as these?
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