Snow Leopards Research Paper

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Panthera uncia, commonly known as the snow leopard, is a longhaired cat included in the Felidae family, or big cat family. Snow leopards were formerly classified as Leo uncia but were placed in the genus Panthera with the other big cat species due to their common ancestors. Snow leopards are closely related to tigers, or Panthera tigris. Both species separated from the big cat family around 3.9 million years ago, and genetic studies show that snow leopards branched from tigers around 3.2 million years ago, which shows their close tie to tigers (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014).
Snow leopards physiological traits include a soft, dense, insulating undercoat with a thick, pale grayish coat of hair about 2 inches long with dark spots similar to
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al, 2014) and are also found in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan (Wikramanayake et. al, 2006). They are populated at a low density among large range areas. The natural diet of snow leopards consists primarily of wild blue sheep and Siberian ibex, but also includes pikas, hares, and game birds. An average of 1.5 kilograms of meat is required per snow leopard daily, which is equivalent to 3.3 pounds (Lyngdoh et. al, 2014). With much of the land being developed for livestock production, the natural source of food for snow leopards has depleted from their natural habitats. The decrease in prey resources has contributed to an estimated 20 percent decline in the overall snow leopard population in the past 20 years (Lyngdoh et. al, 2014). Furthermore, this has led to an increasing number of livestock and domestic animals as the snow leopard’s new prey source. Although human density of the land is low, much of the land used for livestock overlaps snow leopard territory, causing an issue between humans and snow leopards (Jackson, 2015). This issue has contributed to their continued list as an endangered
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