The beautiful smokey grey Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) occurs in the high altitudes of Central Asia. Known as the 'ghost of the mountains' this elusive wild cat is difficult to study in its rugged terrain, and numbers are estimated between 4000 and 6500.
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Unique Facts
~ Pale grey to green eyes v yellow to gold of other cats ~
~ One of the longest tails relative to body size ~
~ Occupies snowy mountainous habitat ~
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Classification
The taxonomy or scientific classification of the snow leopard species (Panthera uncia) is as follows:
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)
Family: Felidae (cats)
Genus: Panthera (big cats)
Species: Panthera uncia (snow leopard)
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Subspecies (lower classifications)
In 2017 the global Red List conservation status of Snow Leopards was changed from Endangered to Vulnerable, primarily as estimates exceeded the Endangered threshold of 2500 mature adults. The populations appear to have stabilised yet there are still many threats across its vast range.
Historically two subspecies of snow leopard (previously named Uncia uncia) have been recognized, however this is yet to be confirmed with genetic analysis:
- Uncia uncia uncia - Mongolia and Russia
- Uncia uncia uncioides - western China and Himalayas
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Panthera uncia. 20 Nov 2017.
- Wilson, D. E.; Mittermeier, R. A., eds. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. 1. Carnivores. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1.
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Conservation
The following organizations are all fighting to conserve our mysterious snow leopards, increasingly threatened due to loss of prey base, persecution and illegal trade.
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) Facts and Information
The following links will take you to websites with well researched and authoritative information on snow leopards:
- Snow Leopard Fact Sheet - ARKive
- Snow Leopard Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive
- Snow Leopard Infographic - Snow Leopard Trust