Tags: leopards | change | spots | himalayan snow cat

Leopards Change Spots: Relatives Crash Himalayan Snow Cat Habitat

Image: Leopards Change Spots: Relatives Crash Himalayan Snow Cat Habitat

(Screengrab via YouTube)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017 10:46 AM

Common leopards have crashed the Himalayan habitat of their relatives, the snow leopards, causing concern among conservationists.

A video taken by a camera trap in Qinghai province, China, showed snow and common leopards sharing the same habitat on the Tibetan plateau for the first time, according to BBC News. The video showed both cats together in July 2016.

"In a changing climate, we expect the tree line to move up the slopes and that's encroaching into the snow leopard's habitat," said Byron Weckworth, the China program director with Panthera, a conservation organization dedicated to preserving wild cats, according to BBC News.

The broadcaster said that snow leopards live at an altitude above 9,800 feet in typically open and rocky areas while the common leopards habitat includes forests and woodlands at lower elevations.

"The bigger threat is the snow leopards' habitat loss and its fragmentation," Weckworth continued. "Snow leopards could be squeezed between the barren land of the higher parts of the mountain and the upward moving tree line."

The news about the snow leopards comes as advocates for their survival come together for a meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, this week, according to the Snow Leopard Trust. The Steering Committee Meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program will run Thursday and Friday.

There are an estimated 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards still in the wild, sparsely distributed across Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal Bhutan, and five Central Asian states, BBC News reported.

"The snow leopard is revered and beloved throughout its range — but the threats it faces are increasing: poaching, retaliation killings, scarcity of prey," Zahid Hamid, chairman of the steering committee, said in a statement.

"In addition, climate change is threatening to fragment much of the cat's habitat. These issues can't be solved by individual countries alone. But through the GSLEP process, which brings all 12 snow leopard range countries to the table as partners, we have a historic opportunity to secure the future of this cat and its mountain ecosystems," Hamid continued.

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Common leopards have crashed the Himalayan habitat of their relatives, the snow leopards, causing concern among conservationists.
leopards, change, spots, himalayan snow cat
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2017-46-17
Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017 10:46 AM
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