BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Due to several issues, notably including climate change, snow leopards are edging on extinction, and conservationists are attempting to gather their efforts in order to save the iconic species. It’s an unfortunate result of warming weather, and the man-made consequences that follow it.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has brought the dire situation to the attention of the public.
Within the last 16 years, the population of snow leopards declined by 20% due to human interaction. Their numbers stand at a low between 4,000 to 6,400 left in their natural home of central Asia. On the inside, there are 600 snow leopards left in captivity to assure the genetic diversity and keep their population from going extinct.
And their numbers may yet dwindle due to global warming.
With the warming temperatures, tree lines will grow higher, which will limit their access to prey. Furthermore, the shifting of their environment might soon invite humans to expand their crops or extend their lands where they grow livestock. This could extend further up the mountains and negatively affect their habitat.
Not to mention the fact that poaching is a contributing factor, as well as ‘revenge kills’, where snow leopards are eliminated due to the concern of farmers after their livestock became prey. That only drove their numbers further down. All is weighed on more by the growing temperatures that limits their habitat and increases scarcity of their natural prey.
However, thanks to today’s age technologies the WWF has a better grasp on where the felines are located. In fact, until the 1970s, a snow leopard has never been caught on camera. But with current technology it can become an easy to acquire evidence.
A coalition between southern and central countries in Asia have established in 2013 that they will preserve 20 snow leopard habitats by 2020. Their aim is to secure them a home where they will remain undisturbed, fight against poaching, and work with industries invading their habitats to limit disruption. More is needed though.
According to the WWF, current measures taken to preserve the iconic big cat addresses only 14% of their natural habitats. In order to better encourage and provide with more beneficial incentives, the organization has also emphasized that by preserving their habitats, measures will also help humans.
Around 330 million people were estimated to live within 6 miles of landscape where snow leopard make their homes. The rivers originating from those mountains also provide with vital water resources for their communities. The WWF has emphasized that it’s not a ‘save the animal or the human’ type of debate.
In fact, their preservation will be beneficial both.
Image source: youtube.com