Snow leopards inhabit alpine and subalpine areas in the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m.
Smaller than other big cats, weighing between 27 and 55 kg, they are mainly known for their beautiful long coat, with shades of white, grey and black, perfectly designed for a camouflaged living in an alpine, cold environment.
Unfortunately, beauty has its downsides as well, especially when it comes down to human vs animal. Poaching it for its coat, bones and organs, valuable in Asian medicine; moving the livestock to graze in new areas, leaving less food out there for the herbivores that they prey; and a mix of global warming, which means that lines are receding, pushing the cats further up the mountain slopes, where food isn’t available anymore, brought this cat closer and closer to extinction.
With only between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild, the beautiful big cat made it on the list of endangered species, in 2003. Numerous agencies are making efforts to conserve both the specie and the threatened mountain ecosystems, even if it’s a very though and uncertain fight.
Until the future looks brighter for this fascinating animal, it will always stay alive and safe, in my own special painting.
75 x 115 cm canvas – painting in acrylic
A society is defined not only by what it creates but by what it refuses to destroy.
Let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee
– William Wordsworth
“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” ~ Sir Edmund Hillary
“Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” ~Richard M. Nixon