Snow Leopards, Elegant Asian Mountain Cats

See more interesting animalsSnow Leopard, Uncia uncia.
Photo Courtesy Jaro at Jo Company of Dublin, Ireland

Tracing the tracks of Snow Leopards in the alpine mountains.

Gorgeous and hushed as snowfall, the Snow Leopard is known all over the globe for its beauty and intangible behavior. The white-gray coat with black spots combines perfectly with the rocky mountains of Central and South Asia.

These wild cats love this kind of natural habitat. It offers them good cover to stay out of sight while hunting. Moreover, they are highly adapted to the harsh and arid climate of the mountains.

Some amazing facts about Snow Leopards:

Snow Leopard, Uncia unciaPhoto Wiki Commons, Courtesy Bernard Landgraf, GNU Free Documentation License
  1. Like most wild cats, this magnificent mountain cat hunts at night. The most common creatures killed by these cats are wild goats, deer, pikas, markhor, game birds, rodents and hares.
  2. The Snow Leopard is scientifically dubbed as Uncia uncia.
  3. They are found at elevations as high as 9800 feet above sea level.
  4. These are the most mystical among wild cats. They have a stunning coat with black rosettes that helps them in disguise.
  5. These cats weigh from 30-55 kg, and the length of the tail measures from 80-135cm.
  6. They are considered excellent jumpers and bear a resemblance to leopards.
  7. Their paws are large and covered with fur, which protects them from getting injuries.
  8. The gestation period of a female is about 90 to 110 days.
  9. They can live up to 18 years, though some have been known to live up to 21 years.

Why Snow Leopards are endangered

This wild cat’s numbers are gradually declining, with its population in the wild estimated at around 6000. According to the International Union for the conservation of Nature and Natural resources they are listed as an endangered species.

There are a number of reasons why they are in danger, but humans are the biggest threat to Snow Leopards. They hunt them for fur, pelt and bones. Many people are found wearing coats and hats made from leopard skin, while on the other hand, the Chinese use their bones in medicines. Not only this, humans also cause immense damage to their habitats and food sources.

When there is no or limited prey left in the wild, they are forced to venture out of their designated habit into human settlements where they start killing and eating the farm animals of villagers, such as goats and sheep. In response the local people kill these straying cats to save their stock.

Cites, another respected organization, puts a lot of effort into discovering creatures that could be in trouble. It protects the endangered species and forbids trade of animal species or their body parts.

Saving them from extinction

The Snow Leopard was first listed as an endangered species in the year 1972 and since then its population has been on the decline. The very old and respected Snow Leopard Trust works exclusively to save the endangered cat and its home. Right now the trust focuses its attempts in countries like Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan, China and Mongolia. It raises money through fundraising events, donations and by selling products online, and is maintained by the other organizations.

There are many organizations working together to make important contributions to the conservation of the endangered Snow Leopard. Conservation groups in many countries where these wild cats survive are working with the farmers to help improve the situation and minimize the problem of human-snow leopard conflicts. The herders and farmers have been taught how to protect their livestock areas against these creatures.

Where Snow Leopards Live

One can witness these top predators in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Bhutan. The likelihood of encountering one of these wild cats seems like a fancy dream. Spotting it in its high, overwhelming habitat will be a real reward for anyone.

On a tour to India, don’t miss out on visiting the famous Hemis National Park where snow leopards are found. Some of other renowned national parks are Khunjerab National park, Pakistan; Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal; Katun Nature Reserve, Russia and Sarychat- Ertah State Nature Reserve, Kyrgyzstan.

The existence of this elusive animal is significant as it signifies the health of the surroundings and the preservation of the snow leopard cannot be successful without the help and support of the local people. Make an effort to protect the wild cat, “Uncia uncia“, and its habitat. They need your love!

Contributing author Tanmay Sharma is a wildlife admirer and very passionate about wildlife tourism.

The Benefits of a Feral Cat Program

April 5, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Feral Cat Program

Feral cats have never learned to socialize with humans and often cause problems for people. Some animal groups are working to help these cats to live a healthier and friendlier existence by working with Feral Cat Programs.

Feral or Lost?

Feral cats are wild cats. They have either been abandoned by owners at an early age or have been gone from a home so long that they have learned to live in a feral group on the streets. Because these cats are not spayed or neutered, even more feral cats are born into this type of society.

On the other hand, a lost cat knows people and seeks their companionship. They are not used to fending for themselves and won’t survive long on the street without them. Often lost cats hang around suburban areas trying to get food and warmth from homes and businesses.

How to Solve the Problem

People are concerned about the increasing epidemic of feral cats on the streets. Because they are wild and untamed, these cats have been known to urinate everywhere (marking their territory), make noisy fights with other cats, spread infection, and upset trash cans looking for food.

Often they live in community groups called “colonies.” These cats usually live together in areas that are known to be kind to them. It could be the back yard of a person who is willing to feed them or outside a business where they throw out scraps to keep them fed.

The ASPCA and the Humane Society has come up with some Feral Cat Programs to help these cats. One program is the Trap-Neuter-Spay-Return program. Much like the catch-and-release program utilized by fishermen, feral cats are carefully rounded up. They are then taken to a facility where they are sterilized. Then, they are released back into their community environment.

Much like this program is the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return program. The animals are sterilized, but animal professionals also take it upon themselves to look the cats over and vaccinate them properly against common diseases they may encounter on the street.

These feral cat programs are further enhanced by volunteers who are committed to monitoring and taking care of these cat colonies. The benefits are:

– Longer life span for feral cats

– Fewer disruptions in society

– Fewer unwanted cats on the streets

These cats also make great mousers to keep down the rodent population. Some have proposed eradicating feral cats but that won’t solve the problem in the end. For one, new cats will come along to fill the void left by the ones taken. Secondly, it is easier to get volunteers to care for the existence of these animals then to round them up for euthanization.

Feral cats are not able to be tamed but they can be given a chance at a healthy existence through friendly feral cat programs. These programs really do help cats in wild situations.

Serval Cats

March 28, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Serval Cats as PetsServal Cats as Pets
“Are you thinking of acquiring a wild cat as a pet? Serval Cats are considered one of the best exotic cats to own – and here are the basics of their care!”

The African Serval is not an overly large exotic cat species, and it has long ears!

Serval Cats, also known as African Servals originate from Africa. These are popular exotic pet cats because of having similar characteristics to typical house cats. They are very loving towards their human owners, however they have a much more wild side than domestic cats and act on their instincts much more strongly. Servals are relatively small for wild cats – ranging from 18 to 40 pounds, with males often being larger. They are larger than most domestic cats, but in comparison to the largest exotic wild cats, such as the Siberian Tiger which reaches 400 to 760 pounds, they are small.

Seven different small wild cats are kept as pets, however the African Serval is the most popular and the most distinctive in looks. Although they look similar to cheetahs they are actually a completely different cat species. The Serval has a reddish to yellowish brown coat with dark stripes and spots which makes it stand out. The Black Serval and Woodland Servaline are two Serval varieties whose patterns include significantly smaller spots. Servals bodies are long and lean with long back legs that are somewhat longer than their front legs. They also have narrow heads and long ears… Read More

More on Serval Cats!

Exotic Cats as Pets

February 11, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Exotic CatsExotic Cats
“Exotic Pet Wildcats are not just “pet cats”… they are extraordinary pet cats!”

Exotic Cats evolved completely on their own with no human help – that is what makes

them exotic pet cats!

Exotic cats are typically cat species that are wild but that are occasionally kept in a domestic setting as pets. They are definitely extravagant looking and “unique” compared to what are usually kept as pets! Exotic cats included here are all species of wild cats – from small bobcats to lions and tigers to all endangered cats.

Wild cats are most often seen and experienced by normal people in photographs and in zoos or wildlife reserves. Because these cats are not encountered on a regular basis it is natural to want to see and touch them. These cats have both differences and similarities to typical house cats. They can be loving and affectionate to their owners just like a “normal” cat. However, they require much more in terms of care. Their housing, diets, and temperaments can all differ dramatically from a typical house cat. There also variations among the different species and it generally costs much more to keep an exotic cat. An owner of a an exotic cat must be dedicated and responsible when it comes to caring for an exotic cat… Read More

More on the Exotic Cats!