Why the world’s last few snow leopards are dying at the hands of humans

Approximately 4,000 snow leopards live across central Asia, but humans have killed as many as 450 since 2008. These killings are largely carried out by either poachers, who hope to sell the animal’s valuable pelts, claws, and teeth, or by herders, whose livestock has been preyed on by snow leopards.

These numbers come via a newly published report by Traffic a wildlife trade monitoring network that is a collaboration between the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Foundation. The report estimates that between 221 and 450 snow leopards have been killed since 2008, but notes that the number could be higher since killings in remote areas go undetected and it is difficult to monitor the trade of big cats.

Some see survival prospects as bleak for the big cats. However, in Kyrgyzstan – where the remaining snow leopards are found in relatively large numbers – new conservation models have shown some signs of progress. READ MORE.