More Snow Leopards Are Dying Due To Poaching And Retaliation

First Posted: Oct 22, 2016 04:39 AM EDT

Many snow leopards are hunted and killed by poachers and farmers every year in the mountains of Central Asia. This put the endangered big cat in jeopardy.

The Guardian reports that between 259 and 450 snow leopards are annihilated every year since 2008. NGO said that the number could be higher as the killings in some isolated areas are not identified.

The population of the big cat is only about 4,000 that are scattered across the mountains of Central Asia. Poachers are hunting the snow leopards for trade in furs and bones. On the other hand, herders are more responsible for the killing as half of snow leopard were killed by them as retaliation for livestock predation, according to National Geographic.

"We think that what most observations, seizure records, and expert opinion shows is that the majority is still happening because of retaliatory killing," said James Compton from Traffic. He further said that one of the major interventions to stop that is better security for livestock in some isolated areas where there are nomad communities and herds of livestock because that's where the friction takes place.

Meanwhile, poaching often occurred in Pakistan, China, India, Mongolia and Tajikistan. About 21 percent of snow leopards were killed because of illegal trade of their skins and bones. Their claws and teeth were traded too because some believe they have medicinal purposes.

Furthermore, the snow leopards would likely decline by 2070. This is because they would likely be affected by global warming too, according to a study printed in the journal Biological Conservation.

Some organizations are doing efforts to conserve the said creatures. The Kyrgyz government, the Snow Leopard Foundation and the Snow Leopard Trust are in collaboration to make Shamsy, where many snow leopards live, as a wildlife sanctuary. Musaev Almaz, from the Kyrgyz government's department of rational use of natural resources, said that the big cat is a significant part of their culture and heritage and they are committed to secure its future.

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