September 07, 2009
Apple’s release of its new operating system, dubbed “Snow Leopard”, is helping raise awareness of the plight of one of the world’s most endangered big cats, reports the Snow Leopard Trust, a group working to protect the real-life snow leopard in its mountainous habitat across Central Asia.
“This is a boon for wild snow leopards,” said Brad Rutherford, Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, “Apple is helping to show the world the beauty and majesty of this rare creature.”
Rutherford says the software launch has made consumers aware that the snow leopard is indeed a real animal and encouraged some of Apple’s partners to support snow leopard conservation, including donating a portion of profits.
More than three dozen Apple Specialist stores from California to New York are helping the Snow Leopard Trust sell cub adoption kits (specially priced for Mac’s new OS release) to raise money for conservation. Tekserve, an Apple Specialist retailer in New York, has decided to donate all the proceeds from the first 100 Mac OS X operating systems they sell. A full list of participating Apple Specialists is available at www.applespecialist.com/adoptions.
“The launch of the new OS will hopefully put snow leopards front and center and drive people to find out more,” Rutherford said.
“We have a new donor match going on through October,” he continued. “For all the Apple partners, anything they give will be matched—that means they can have double the impact for snow leopard conservation.”
The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is one of the rarest and most elusive big cat species with a population of 4,500 to 7,500 spread across a range of 1.2 to 1.6 million kilometers in some of the world’s harshest and most desolate landscapes. Found in arid environments and at elevations sometimes reaching 18,000 feet (5,500 meters), the species faces great threats despite its extreme habitat. These threats vary across its range, but in all countries where it is found — Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly Myanmar — the species is at risk. In some countries snow leopard are directly hunted for their pelt, in others they are imperiled by depletion of prey, loss of habitat, and killing as a predator of livestock. These threats, combined with the cat’s large habitat requirements, means conservation through the establishment of protected areas alone may not be enough save it from extinction in the wild in many of the countries in which it lives.
Snow Leopard Trust
Snow Leopard Conservancy
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org