Globally, it is estimated, that there are between 4,080 and 6,590 snow leopards left in the world as at Sept. 2017. However, the effective population size is about half that at 2,040 to 3,295. The effective population is described as the number of mature individuals capable of reproduction. It is also described as the “genetic size of the population”.
I don’t know what readers make of this population size. It seems incredibly small to me and as a result this cat is listed as endangered by the authorities, namely, the IUCN Red List. This cat is endangered because of habitat loss, prey loss, poaching and persecution. By country, the key wrongdoers in respect of conservation are Russia and China. Poaching was severe in the former Russian republics in the 1990s. The position has improved. China drives poaching and an illegal trade in this cat’s body parts. The wild prey base of this cat is declining partly because of increased farming at high altitude with the associated conservation problem of an increase in retribution killings by farmers when the snow leopard attacks their livestock.
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