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IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

Distribution

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Range Description

The Snow Leopard is restricted to the high mountains of Central Asia, with core areas including the Altai, Tian Shan, Kun Lun, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Karakorum and Himalayan ranges. (McCarthy et al. 2003). Ecological regions were defined in a workshop as Altai-Sayan, Trans-Altai Alashan Gobi, Tian Shan, Pamir, Hindu-Kush, Karakorum, Himalayas, HengduanMountains, and Tibetan Plateau (Williams 2008).

Based on elevational analysis, Hunter and Jackson (1997) estimated potential range at over 3 million km, with much of this in Mongolia and the Tibetan plateau of China, although it is unclear to what extent snow leopards use much of the flatter parts of the plateau (R. Jackson pers. comm. 2008). There was evidence of snow leopard occupation in 1.83 million km, and only about 550,000 km was considered to be good habitat (Hunter and Jackson 1997, McCarthy et al. 2003). Williams (2006) used historical data to improve mapping of potential range, but there remains a significant lack lack of information about current snow leopard status across much of its known and potential distribution.

In an attempt to improve knowledge of Snow Leopard distribution and status, a conservation planning conference held in Beijing in March 2008 brought together experts from 11 of the 12 range countries. The conference was able to map specific and local knowledge about snow leopard range and determine Snow Leopard Conservation Units, areas which are the most important for conserving Snow Leopards over the long-term. The process highlighted areas where knowledge of Snow Leopard status is strong and where it is lacking, and resulting maps now provide biologists and conservationists with a more strategic approach to Snow Leopard conservation and research (Williams 2008).

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Source: IUCN

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