Play Your Part In Saving The Indian Snow Leopard!!

 

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.

FAST FACTS

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.

Diet

Snow leopards primarily hunt wild sheep and goats. Snow leopards are also known to eat smaller animals like rodents, hares and game birds.

Population

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.

Habitat 
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.

Characteristics
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.

Reproduction
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.

Conservation Challenges: 

Poaching 


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 .

Retribution Killings
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.

Global Warming and Other Threats

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.

WWF’s involvement

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.

Legal Status/Protection

  • Endangered Species Act (ESA): the snow leopard is listed as endangered.
  • IUCN Red List: Endangered. Snow leopards are suspected to have declined by at least 20% over the past two generations (16 years) due to habitat and prey base loss, and poaching and persecution.
  • CITES: The snow leopard is listed in Appendix I.

 DID YOU KNOW?

  • One Indian snow leopard, protected and observed in a national park, is reported to have consumed five blue sheep, nine Tibetan woolly hares, twenty-five marmots, five domestic goats, one domestic sheep, and fifteen birds in a single year
  • Snow leopards have very large paws that act as snowshoes and keep them from sinking into the snow.
  • Their paws are also completely fur-covered, protecting them from the cold.
  • Snow leopards prefer to inhabit steep cliff areas, rocky outcrops and ravines. Such habitats provide them with the camouflage they need to ambush unsuspecting prey. They stalk their prey and usually spring from a distance of 20-50 feet. Their long and powerful hind limbs help the snow leopard leap up to 30 feet, which is 6 times its body length. Mostly active at dawn and dusk, snow leopards are rarely seen in the wild. Unlike other big cats, snow leopards are unable to roar. Solitary in nature, they pair only during the breeding season.
It’s time to play your part in saving these beautiful animals guys!
Boycott and refrain from buying products made out of their fur.
Help in any way you can before the only place we will be able to visit and see these endangered species will be in history textbooks.
Thankyou 🙂 !
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Lights in Darkness.

 

Cast out the darkness,  but then don’t expect to see how bright the light is shining.

Completely illuminate your life, but then don’t expect to be able to tell the difference between artificial and natural light.

Don’t run way from your worries, the more you run, the more tired you will get.. and when they eventually do catch up to you, you will be too tired to fight them like you could have before.

Instead of trying to inspire the idea, try and inspire the person. Planting the seed deep enough will ensure a stronger gradual grip in comparison to a seed grown on the periphery.

Don’t take anything for granted. Even a day free of infection is due to the millions of cells fighting off the bacteria you constantly breathe in. Every day without infection is a battle won.

If you take the fact that your father comes home after work every evening for granted, ask a child whose father just died what he would do for that to happen to him one more time.

If you want to know what regret feels like, then ask a smoker with lung cancer, who wishes he had listened to his loved ones when they begged and warned him to stop.

Darkness can only rule you over when you blow out the candle, or leave the window open to blow the candle out for you just in case you need something else to blame.

Nobody except for you is responsible for the things that happen to you.
If you have been mistreated, it’s only because you allowed someone to do you wrong.
It’s only human to try and find something or someone to blame your problems on.
Try and figure out any possible excuse to make yourself believe that it wasn’t your fault, just so that you can get some closure.

But sometimes, think realistically.

Your expensive bag wouldn’t have gotten stolen if you would have been more careful.
Your house wouldn’t have been broken into if you would have invested in better security software.

You wouldn’t have been broken up with if you would have chosen the right kind of guy in the first place.

Then the question will arise in your mind of How you were supposed to know it was going to happen. Right?
Well it’s quite simple. You didn’t. You couldn’t have. There’s no way of telling what curved balls your life is going to throw at you.
But you must remember. Even though you didn’t know the consequence, at the end of the day YOU are the one who made the choice, or let someone else make the choice for you.
So you are the one accountable for it.

Instead of wasting your time harboring hatred for someone, try spending that same amount of energy fixing what went wrong.
You’ll suddenly notice that you’re a lot better off than you were when you spent your time cursing people.

Quote

Are you Dealing With a Heartbreak?

After a trauma, your body is at its most vulnerable. Response time is critical. So you’re suddenly surrounded by people—doctors, nurses, specialists, technicians—surgery is a team sport. Everyone pushing for the finish line. Putting you back together again.

But heart-break is a trauma in and of itself, and once it’s over, the real healing begins. It’s called recovery. Recovery is not a team sport. It’s a solitary distance run. It’s long. It’s exhausting. And it’s lonely as hell.

The length of your recovery is determined by the extent of your injuries. And it’s not always successful. No matter how hard we work at it. Some wounds might never fully heal. You might have to adjust to a whole new way of living. Things may have changed too radically to ever go back to what they were. You might not even recognize yourself. It’s like you haven’t recovered anything at all. You’re a whole new person with a whole new life.

You realize that the people that surround you, and are a part of your daily life, are suddenly not the kind you’d want to spend your time with or mix with anymore. Either they remind you too much of something you’re trying to completely, or they have suddenly developed a contrasting thought process in comparison to yours. You start highlighting qualities of theirs which you never even notices anymore. You find yourself drifting away from these people in a desperate search for a new circle of people and friends to match up to your new life. To match the “New You”.

You may either become completely emotionless, and deal with like with an attitude that nothing affects you anymore or you don’t really care anymore about anything because it isn’t worth it. Or you may become extremely emotional. To the extent that anything, at the drop of the hat can make you tear up and start balling.
You won’t understand what has to be done at this stage. You’ll probably feel that this is going to last forever. That you’ve permanently changed wither into a rock, or a wreck.

Well to be honest, the best thing to do at this point is not do anything at all. Let the breakup run its course. Let everything settle down. You probably think that you can fix it right now, but you can’t. Trust me. Doing anything before the dust settles will only ensure you know down some other pillar as you can’t see where you’re going. So sit tight. Get in touch with all your feelings. Get them out of your system. Once everything has settled, which could take from a month to a year, and you both have had enough time to think, then go talk things out. If it’s love, it’s gotta last, if it didn’t last, it wasn’t love. So don’t be afraid to give yourself as much of a time out as you and your body need.

Just remember this guys. Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and the night’s always the darkest before the dawn..
Things WILL get better. They have to. 🙂

Lots of love.
Xx.

P.s- Leave a comment if you liked the post of if you generally have any comments on the topic! Thankyouuu! 😀

Where there is a will, there is a way.!

Last year, my high school had taken my batch on an outstation trip to a tiger reserve in Ranthambore. One of the many activities we did out there was rappling. We were taken to a river where we sat down by the boulders and stones and were briefed on how to carry out the forthcoming activity. The activity was of course, an optional one, so we were all asked if we would like to take part in it or not. Being one of the few who opted to try rappling, i realised that we as humans fall into three, very distinct categories : The wills, the won’ts and the can’ts.

Every now and then through the course of life we come across various obstacles that we will have to overcome in order to move ahead. The outcome of this is completely dependent on how we choose to respond to the challenge we are facing.

Some people confidently say that they will go ahead and try to move past it, most of which suceed due to their determind frame of mind and fearless attitude.
Some say they would simply not want to try moving past it at all. These are the one’s who oppose the situation, carefully watvhing the task at hand to find any fault which could help them firmly disapprove of the task that has to be done.
The third type however, decide that the task that has been given to them is impossible without even trying and therefore it cannot be done. as a result, these type of people obviously lose out on many of the opportunities that life has to offer simply because they could not even bother giving themselves a chance.


I as an individual, strongly believe that nothing is impossibe and that any task that has to be done can be done if we think openly and find a way to do it. this is why i can proudly say that those who believe in themselves, fall in the “will ” category. Quoting the phrase, “Where there is a will there is a way,” I believe these people will, with adequate amounts of hard-work and patience, achieve their goals in life.

P.s- Leave a comment if you liked the post of if you generally have any comments on the topic! Thankyouuu! 😀