If you have an Apple computer, you probably have learned about their new operating system Snow Leopard. However, the truth about snow leopards is that they are on the verge of extinction.
The number of snow leopards is estimated to be 3,500 to 7,000, but the exact number is unknown. This species has been registered into the red list of threatened species since 1972. Unfortunately, due to hunting for fur and bones in certain regions of the world, snow leopards continue to face decline in population to date. Besides poaching, snow leopards are also losing their natural habitats and food sources. Their ecosystem has been disrupted by humans and it is possible that someday we can only see them in the zoos. Captivated snow leopards can never return to the wild because usually the mother accompanies her cubs and teaches them survival, hunting skills around the land in the first two years after birth.
Snow Leopards are generally smaller than most big cats with a thick coat that helps weather the cold climate, small ears that minimize heat loss and large, wide paws that work as snow shoes which support and aid them to walk safely and steadily on snow. Their tails are elongated and thick. They can be used to cover the face to provide insulation against the cold weather while sleeping. They do not roar like many other big cats due to lack of particular vocal features.
A wild snow leopard lives for 15 - 18 years whereas a captivated snow leopard can live up to 20 years.