Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program is working in seven countries across Asia to protect Asia’s ‘Mountain Ghost.’
Snow Leopard Program
When Panthera Science Council Vice Chair Dr. George Schaller captured the first known photograph of the snow leopard in the early 1970s, almost nothing was known about this elusive wild cat. Even today, the snow leopard is one of the least understood of the big cat species.
Utilizing new techniques tailored to monitor wildlife in remote and rugged landscapes, Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program is collecting a wealth of data to better understand this enigmatic species and how best to protect it.
Panthera’s scientists are conducting surveys on snow leopard and prey populations, training national biologists in conservation methods, assessing threats, securing habitat, mitigating human-wildlife conflict by collaborating with local communities, and helping governments establish and implement National Snow Leopard Action Plans.
Today, Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program currently leads or supports conservation activities in five of the 12 snow leopard range countries, including China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. Our team is rapidly expanding our conservation efforts in China, where more than half of all wild snow leopards are thought to exist.
Snow leopards exist in 12 countries across Asia. Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program is being implemented in 7 of the 12 snow leopard range states.
Snow Leopard Range States: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
See snow leopard range map
The State of the Snow Leopard
The snow leopard--known as the ‘ghost of the mountains’--is one of the most enigmatic and least understood of the big cats. Today, scientists believe that between 4,500 and 10,000 adult snow leopards remain in the wild; their exact number is relatively unknown given they are extremely elusive and challenging to survey. The species is very rarely seen even by local people. However, new research, including camera trapping, is beginning to indicate there may be more snow leopards than previously thought. The snow leopard’s range spans 12 countries and two million km2 in Asia, with 65 percent of their habitat found in China alone.
The snow leopard is listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.