The most secretive of the seven big cat species.
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As it is one of the the seven big cat species, it follows that it is able to hunt and kill fairly large prey. Depending on where it lives, the Snow Leopard’s diet includes Blue Sheep, Ibex, Wild Goat, Wild Argali Sheep, Marmot, Hare and a number of larger birds. Its large hind legs allow it to leap great distances and travel quickly in order to ambush prey and its very long tail aids with balance during the chase. Snow Leopards can tackle prey much larger than themselves and have been known to drag prey vast distances in order to feed cubs. This largely solitary predator’s hunting prowess does, however, mean that it can and will take down livestock, this often brings it in direct conflict with people, and it is typically poor farmers who see it as a pest and will do all they can to protect their animals and their livelihood, even if that means taking lethal action. It is mainly as a result of this, combined with loss of prey and habitat, that the numbers of Snow Leopards in the wild have significantly dropped in recent years and that trend is unfortunately set to continue.
There is however hope for the future of the Snow Leopard, and it is the reason why, for me at least, it is the most fascinating of the big cat species, and that is the fact that it is so elusive. There are Snow Leopards, particularly in the Himalayas, that live in true wilderness and will not see a human being throughout the course of their lives, because of this, the Snow Leopard’s future should be far more secure than that of its closest relatives.
I will definitely be doing all I can to help ensure the future of this most amazingly beautiful big cat and cannot wait until I get to see one in the wild myself. I would ask that all of you that have read and enjoyed this article to please do the same and do what you can to help. Thank you.