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Snow leopards face many different threats in each of the twelve range countries in Central Asia where they live. The degree to which each threat is harming snow leopard populations varies in different countries but the endangered species faces the same problems and challenges everywhere.

Only time will tell how well local people, researchers and conservationists are able to deal with each of thr threats in order to ensure snow leopard viable populations in the wild long term.

The Snow Leopard Network’s 2014 report, “Snow Leopard Survival Strategy” identifies 32 threats to snow leopards under five major categories.

Habitat and Prey Related

  • Habitat Degradation
  • Habitat Fragmentation
  • Prey Reduction due to Illegal Hunting
  • Prey Reduction due to Competition with Livestock
  • Prey Reduction due to Legal Hunting
  • Prey Reduction due to Disease
  • Fencing that Disrupts Movements/ Migration

Direct Killing or Removal of Snow Leopards

  • In Retribution for Livestock Depredation
  • Poaching for Trade in Hides or Bones
  • Zoo and Museum Collection of Live Animals
  • Traditional Hunting of Snow Leopards
  • Secondary Poisoning and Trapping of Snow Leopards
  • Diseases of Snow Leopards
  • Potential Legal Hunting of Snow Leopards

 Policy and Awareness

  • Lack of Appropriate Policy
  • Lack of Effective Enforcement
  • Lack of Transboundary Cooperation
  • Lack of Institutional Capacity
  • Lack of Awareness Among Local People
  • Lack of Awareness Among Policy Makers

 Other Issues

  • War and Related Military Activities
  • Human Population Growth (Rapid) / Poverty
  • Feral Dogs Attacking Snow Leopards and Prey
  • Poaching and Wildlife Trade by Migrant Workers
  • Poaching by Military Personnel

 Emerging Threats

  • Climate Change
  • Growing Livestock Populations and Intensifying Human- Wildlife Conflict
  • Large-scale Development Projects
  • Impacts due to Mineral Exploration/Mining (Local)
  • Impacts due to Hydroelectric Projects
  • Impacts due to Roads or Railroads
  • Disturbance Related to Cordyceps Collection
Two poachers with snow leopard pelts arrested in Nepal in  2011. Photo Kathmandu Post

Two poachers with snow leopard pelts arrested in Nepal in 2011. Photo Kathmandu Post