Snow leopard no longer 'endangered' but still 'vulnerable', say experts

Postado Сентября 16, 2017

The change in status came after a three-year assessment process by five worldwide experts including scientists from academia and from Panthera, Snow Leopard Conservancy, and Wildlife Conservation Society, organizations active in snow leopard conservation.

Their assessment was then reviewed and approved by eight worldwide felid and Red List assessments experts, as well as the IUCN's Global Mammal Assessment team and central Red List Unit.

Snow leopards have been a symbol of endangered species for years, and have made memorable appearances in the Planet Earth series and other nature documentaries, and a memorable non-appearance in Peter Matthiessen's National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard, about the efforts of biologist George Schaller.

But experts warned the new classification did not mean the elusive creatures were safe.

The snow leopard's conservation status just got knocked down a notch, and the big cat is now officially no longer endangered.

Some positive developments included an increase in the number of protected areas, as well as stepped-up efforts by local communities to protect the animals from poachers.

Scientists managed to survey only a small fraction of the animal's high-mountain range, an area covering about 1.8 million square kilometres crossing into 12 countries in Asia.

But scientists agreed the Himalayas were one of the world's most susceptible regions to climate change. "We feel the same about the snow leopard".

Challenges faced by the animal include poaching, with hunters targeting their thick fur and bones. They also face declining numbers of wild prey, as domestic livestock have degraded grasslands.

"It is important that a change in status is not misinterpreted", Zahler advised.

About Wildlife Conservation Society - WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. Hundreds were placed in zoos around the world, including a few in New York City.

"Nepal has once again established itself as a leader in conservation, showing much-needed ambition despite facing some of the toughest environmental, economic and political conditions", said Ghana Gurung, conservation director at WWF-Nepal. For more information: 347-840-1242. "It involves an enormous amount of work in some of the most remote and inhospitable regions of the world".

Dr. Tom McCarthy, Panthera's Director of Snow Leopard Program, began his conservation career studying brown bears, black bears, mountain goats and caribou in Alaska in the early 1980s. By developing an appreciation for this wild cat, the ultimate goal of the Conservancy is to turn conflict into coexistence.