The snow leopard range indicated on the map below is a little different from the others on this site as the range is:

  • very fragmented in places and
  • large parts of the range have very irregular boundaries

For these reasons the range edging is soft and thick and the fragmented areas are indicated by a hollow area bounded by lines rather than filled in.

In fact, the overall distribution consists in large part of core areas that follow narrow mountain ranges and island ranges.

Snow Leopard – photo by ~Sage~

The Red List says that:

“…there remains a significant lack lack of information about current snow leopard status across much of its known and potential distribution.”

Distribution of this cat is not conclusively known. That is also why the boundaries have been less precisely drawn that usual in the map below.

The range follows the high mountains of Central Asia, which are clearly visible on Google maps. A lot of the range covers Mongolia and the Tibetan plateau. It is thought that snow leopards also use the lower parts of the plateau but to what extent is unknown.

Song kul, Kyrgyzstan – this is firmly inside the snow leopard range

Northern Pakistan – inside the range of the snow leopard.
This is karimabad and the photo was taken
by joshuahsong

Here is a map of the snow leopard range (shaded areas):

The snow leopard range covers these countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bhutan
  • China
  • India
    • Himachal Pradesh
    • Jammu-Kashmir
    • Sikkim
    • Uttaranchal
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Mongolia
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Tajikistan
  • Tibet (I have included this as not part of China!)
  • Uzbekistan
RangeSize in millions of Km²
Potential estimated3
Evidence of occupation1.83
Good habitat.55

Update Sept 2010: In Bhutan, surprising though it is, the snow leopard shares part of its range and habitat with the tiger! The tiger has retreated to above 4,000 feet about sea level in Bhutan – up into the relatively safe Himalayas. See The Tigers of Bhutan.

{data for table: Red List}. The Sunquists say that the total historic range is 2.5m km², considerably less than the estimates figure above.
More reading:


  • Red List
  • Wild Cats Of The World (Sunquists)
  • Flickr – photos published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License  — this site is partly for charitable purposes in funding cat rescue.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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