Common Name: Snow Leopard Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata) Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Felidae Genus: Pantherinae Uncia Species: uncia
Misc.: This species, like the clouded leopard, is one of those that is somewhere between the small cats and the great cats in that it can’t purr like the small cats and it can’t roar like the true great cats. It makes a happy sound similar to the tiger’s chuffing.
Its greatest threats are the hunting of its main prey species in the mountains, and the poisoning of other of its prey species, leaving the snow leopard with out a means of sustaining itself. There is also a demand now for snow leopard bones in traditional Chinese medicine as a substitute for tiger bones. Unfortunately, there is still a demand for fur coats from snow leopard skins in some countries, but luckily that has greatly diminished. At one time here in the US, a coat from a snow leopard sold for up to $50,000.00.
Sub-Species: A single species – There has been some attempt to recognize different sub-species of snow leopard, but at this time all attempts have been rejected.
Size and Appearance: The snow leopard is unique among the felids for the smokey-gray coloring of its coat patterned with dark gray rosettes and spots, and because of that it became nearly extinct. It’s unique color makes an ideal camouflage in its mountain environment of bare rocks and snow. Further adaptations for high altitude life include an enlarged nasal cavity, shortened limbs, well developed chest muscles, long hair with a dense, wooly undercoat, and a tail over 3 feet long. They use their tails like a coat in the winter, wrapping it around themselves when lying or sitting for added warmth. Snow leopards molt twice a year with the summer coat being not quite as dense as the winter one. Males weigh between 90-115 lbs, with females weighing between 75-90lbs. Their skull is large, short and broad with a short muzzle, resembling the Siberian lynx in its appearance. They have round pupils like the great cats, varying in color from pale yellow to green-grey. Their broad footpads are covered with fur to provide insulation as well as increasing the surface area allowing them to distribute their weight more evenly over the snow.
In captivity, Snow leopards usually die young due to compromised immune systems.
Habitat: The snow leopard ranges includes alpine meadows, treeless rocky mountains and rhododendron forests. Most of their range occurs in Tibet and other parts of China associated with steep rocky slopes, with arid shrub land, grassland or steppe vegetation. Occasionally, in parts of their habitats they visit open coniferous forests, but generally avoid dense forests. They are found at high elevations of 3000-4500 meters (9800 ft – 14800 ft.), and even higher in the Himalayas.
Reproduction and Offspring: The snow leopards reproductive season is from early January to mid March which is the time when vocalizations can most commonly be heard. Litters of 1-5 (most commonly 2-3) will occur following a 98-104 day gestation period. They are born beneath rocks or in rock crevices and their dens are lined with fur. Their spots at birth are completely black, developing into rosettes with age. Their eyes open between 7-10 days, they begin crawling after 10 days, and begin eating solid foods at 2 months. The young will leave their mothers between the ages of 18-22 months, and siblings may stay together for some time following their independence. They will reach sexual maturity between 2-3 years and stay reproductive up until they are 15.
Social System and Communication: Unknown. Some evidence leads to the conclusion that they are solitary except for breeding pairs and mothers with offspring. Territories are marked with scrapes, scats, scent sprays and claw rakings. While it is believed that they have large territories, it is also believed that the territories of multiple animals of both sexes overlap.
Hear our chuffs, hisses, snarls, calls, and growl sounds HERE
Hunting and Diet: Snow leopards are very opportunistic hunters capable of killing prey up to 3 times their own weight. They will also equally take small prey, more so in the summer months when marmots become a main staple in their diets. Their most common prey sources are: wild sheep and goats; pikas; hares; game birds. They kill on the average of 1 large prey item every 10-15 days and stay with the kill for 3-4 days.
Status: Appendix I CITES. There are believed to be 5000 to 7500 of these great cats left in the wild and 476 in captivity. There are only 28 of these cats paired in approved SSP breeding programs.
Felid TAG recommendation: Snow leopard (Pantherinae Uncia uncia). This species has functioned well with a target population of 200 animals. In addition to having a large founder base, new founders are available from captive sources in Europe and range-country zoos. This species does well in captivity, is managed by a wide variety of owners, and now has a stable population in nature.
How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 476 in zoos worldwide, with 236 being in the U.S.
Information taken from IUCN Status Survey and Feline Facts (SOS Care)
That is the lie that animal abusers tell everyone to try and change the subject from protecting exotic cats to a message of mere competition.
They trot out their modified version of our 20 year plan to back up their ridiculous claims, but they leave out the most important part of the plan, which is that there no longer be big cats suffering in captivity, and thus no longer a need for sanctuaries, including Big Cat Rescue’s sanctuary.
As the public becomes better educated about why it is so wrong to breed wild cats for life in cages, they will cease to support industries that breed them as pay to play props, for circuses and other abusive purposes. There will temporarily be an increased need for real sanctuaries, which are those who meet the following standards.
1. Real sanctuaries do not breed exotic cats for life in cages.
2. Real sanctuaries do not buy wild cats.
3. Real sanctuaries do not sell their wildlife.
4. Real sanctuaries do not let the public, nor their staff or volunteers handle the big cats, other than for veterinary purposes.
5. Real sanctuaries do not endanger the public and the big cats by taking them off site for exhibition.
Big Cat Rescue LOVES real sanctuaries and helps them by:
1. Providing guidance on best practices to help the sanctuary qualify for and obtain accreditation through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
2. Hosting workshops and conferences for those who want to do the right thing for wild animals.
3. Training volunteers and international interns in understanding that each animal is an individual who is to be respected and treated with dignity.
4. Sending work groups of our own volunteers out to help after disasters and when other sanctuaries are short handed.
5. Sharing the secrets of our success with those who demonstrate clearly that they are putting the animals first.
Those who exploit wild animals for their own gain hate us because they don’t want the public to know that:
1. There is no reason to breed big cats in cages, as none of them in private hands can ever be set free.
2. There is no captive breeding program that benefits conservation, other than AZA administered SSP programs.
3. Paying to play with a cub or see one on display actually harms conservation efforts.
4. Tigers could disappear from the wild because of the smoke screen caused by their legal breeding of generic tigers.
5. A ban on private possession is the first step toward saving tigers in the wild.
Exploiters claim that if the Big Cats & Public Safety Act were to pass that they would be put out of business and wouldn’t be able to help “rescue” lions, tigers, leopards, ligers and other exotic cats, but that isn’t true. Big Cat Rescue is one of the most successful sanctuaries in the world and we do it by being open, honest and treating the cats with kindness and respect. We want sanctuaries to thrive, and they can do that if they employ the same attitudes and behaviors that we have in being a real sanctuary.
Any real sanctuary, who is doing their work for the animals and not their own sense of satisfaction, will share our goal of a world where all wild cats live free.
Genie the Sandcat is rushed to the vet when her keepers note that she is acting weird.
Genie Sandcat was sedated in a glass box used for domestic cats.
This was to make sedation easier on her since she is only 3.3 pounds and 14 years old.
Dr. Wynn keeps a close eye on her vitals.
The monitors are just all over the place, so she has to rely on feel, sound and instincts.
For such an old and tiny cat, Genie Sandcat has some fearsome teeth!
The tiniest mask straps are too big, so Carole holds the gas mask in place.
Sandcats are the softest of the exotic cat species.
No spinal issues and her lungs don’t look terrible, but she has a case of bronchitis.
This is good news, because Genie Sandcat is given a long lasting antibiotic shot and has a good chance at recovery.
Dr. Wynn gives her fluids, steroids and antibiotics to help tiny little Genie fight off her symptoms.
Genie Sandcat’s paw is the size of the tip of Jamie Veronica’s finger.
Sandcat paws are fully furred on the bottom for running on desert sands.
Violations at Big Cat Facilities 2011-2014
The USDA site doesn’t work most of the time and when it does it is so slow that most browsers will time out and quit before you can download the information you are looking for. This information is current as of Oct. 3, 2014.
At Big Cat Rescue we have a general decision tree that we and our vets use to determine when it is time to euthanize a big cat, but every situation is different. The vast majority of the time we just aren’t sure that it is the right decision until we do the necropsy, which is the animal version of an autopsy. The reason it is so hard to know, if we are doing the right thing, is because cats are hard wired to live the mantra of the wild; “Survival of the fittest.” They just will not reveal their illness or their suffering until they cannot hide it any longer.
We just had two situations, back to back, where we had to make the gut wrenching decision to euthanize an exotic cat. One was an ocelot (known in Central and South America as the Tree Tiger) and the other was an actual tiger. Both were 20-22 years old, but their histories were so different, that the decision in each case came after painful deliberation of our veterinary care team.
Big Cat Rescue recently received a collection of fine art wildlife prints donated by Traci and Gregg Matthews, on behalf of the estate of Mr. and Mrs. David Melville, Traci’s Grandmother and Grandfather.
Mr. Melville met his first big cat, a black leopard, in a jungle in Burma during the 2nd World War. The cat emerged to drink from a stream as he stood there watching in amazement.
Soon after, Mr. Melville began collecting the artwork of renowned wildlife artists Charles Frace’ and Guy Coheleach.
Following Mr. Melville’s passing, Traci and Gregg Matthews sought to pay tribute to her Grandfather’s legacy by donating his collection of artwork, valued at approximately $13,500, in support of an animal welfare related organization that advocated in support of the magnificent creatures he so fondly admired.
These spectacular wildlife prints, all of which include an affidavit of limited edition/ authenticity are now available for purchase, in support of the magnificent creatures that call Big Cat Rescue home: http://www.bigcatrescue.biz/
Foster Kitten Program
Millions of cats and kittens are killed in shelters each year. See what Big Cat Rescue is doing about it.
NY Tiger Rescue Video
Garfield…Recipes with Cattitude! Cookbook
See what others say about this cookbook:
Five Stars! Garfield Recipes with Cattitude! is packed with over 230 terrific recipes for all of Garfield’s favorite foods from lasagna, (of course) to pizza and more! The book is filled with illustrations by Jim Davis and with pointers from our favorite feline, you will be sure to be entertained, informed and inspired to try these delicious offerings! Over 200 pages of beverages, breads, breakfast items, cookies, candy, desserts, lunch items, main dishes and even pet treats, you will find something to fit your palette!
Key Snow Leopard Habitats To Be Identified and Protected
Last October’s Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum resulted in an unprecedented commitment from range countries and the global community to save these cats. Now, this commitment is turning into action, as experts are getting ready to define key snow leopard habitats to be protected.
Next Steps in Global Effort to Protect Cats: Conservation experts and representatives from all 12 snow leopard range countries are meeting in Kyrgyzstan this week to identify at least 20 landscapes that can support secure snow leopard populations – and prioritize measures to protect them. Read More
An Inspiring and Heartfelt Tribute
Mike S., a Big Cat Rescue supporter in Florida recently contacted the sanctuary to purchase a “Pave the Way” brick in honor of a Rick, a homeless individual that he had previously befriended.
Mike contacted the sanctuary following Rick’s tragic death, as he wanted to create a “Pave the Way” brick to ensure that his friend was “forever remembered”.
Mike first encountered Rick sitting in a parking lot with his pet dog. Being an animal lover, Mike asked Rick if he could pet his dog, named Huckleberry. Rick thanked Mike for asking, and introduced him to his canine companion, and the three soon became friends.
Then it dawned on Mike…how much he had and how little Rick had. How can someone have so little, yet have so much?
To “quote” Mike, “He made me a better person, so his life was not a waste, but rather an inspiration.”
Top Shocking Incidents of Big Cat Exploitation – June 2014
We hope by sharing a new list with you each month that you will join us in speaking out for the big cats and cubs that are exploited across this country every day. We encourage you to take one small action today and reach out via phone or email to contact one or more of the offenders listed below and politely express your concern. Together we can be the voice for the voiceless…together we can make a difference. Please join us in our mission of Caring for Cats and Ending the Trade. If you learn of exotic cats or cubs being exploited in your area, please contact Susan.Bass@BigCatRescue.org.
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R) and Mike Lee (L) posing and smiling with a tiger-skin rug
No. 1 Recently U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) posted a smiling photo of himself and U.S. Senator Mike Lee (Utah) on his Facebook page posing with a tiger-skin rug. He said he had just done “a little shopping for the office.” Please let Senator Cruz know that – whether the skin is real or fake – there is no justification for flaunting an endangered tiger skin, especially as an elected official. Contact Senator Cruz here: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=email_senator
Adult lion in a cage at City Life Church in Tampa, FL on Easter
No. 2 On Easter Sunday, the Pastors of City Life Church (Florida) brought a full-grown lion in a tiny transport cage into the church sanctuary during services. Can you imagine the stress and fear the lion much have experienced in this huge church with hundreds of worshippers? Please kindly let the Pastors know that exploiting exotic cats for “shock value” during religious services is ridiculous and potentially dangerous.
No. 3 Houston television station KPRC recently did a fluff story about the white tigers at the Houston Downtown Aquarium. You read that correctly – tigers at a marine aquarium! Reporter Ruben Galvan interviewed a keeper identified as Joy about the tigers. Joy spouted facts as though white tigers would actually be found in the wild! Scary. Then reporter Galvan mentioned that he would be swimming with Beluga whales at Sea World in San Antonio the following day. So it seems to us that KPRC routinely features stories that exploit exotic animals. Please let KPRC know there are better ways to boost ratings than to promote the exploitation of white tigers and other exotics on their station. Animal lovers will tune out stations that show such a lack of disregard for these magnificent sentient creatures.
No. 4 Edmonds Community College (Washington) recently hosted an animal exhibit on campus that included this caged cougar and numerous other animals. A student who contacted Big Cat Rescue tells us that the cougar had no water and many students were upset to see the caged animals. The cougar was exhibited by a non-accredited outfit called Predators of the Heart, which claims to be a “refuge” for animals.
We contacted Dr. Jean Hernandez, President of the college, and explained that a refuge does not force wild animals to be on exhibit in tiny cages for hours and gawked at by hundreds of people! We also told her there is NO justification for using and abusing cougars and other exotic animals on a college campus. In fact, the exhibit sends the very wrong message to impressionable students that animals are ours to exploit as we wish. It can even encourage people to think they make good pets and purchase these cats themselves. Dr. Hernandez never responded to our emails.
Would you politely reach out to Dr. Hernandez and let her know big cat lovers do not want to see cougars on college campuses? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiger cubs interacting with staff from WABD radio in Alabama
No. 5 97.5 WABD (Alabama) had promoted tiger cub handling on their Facebook page recently showing staff members with cubs used for cub petting at the notorious Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The station was even encouraging their fans to pay to interact with the cubs, but once they heard from YOU, they pulled the photo from their page.
Do You Shop on Amazon?
If you do, you can help Big Cat Rescue with every purchase, at no additional cost to you by making Amazon Smile your log in page to Amazon and selecting Big Cat Rescue as your charity of choice!
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Just click on the link and check it out…It’s that easy. Please try 5-10 natural searches using this search engine, after all you already use the Internet to search. Now you can search using a branded search engine built exclusively for us, of course the more you use it the better it is for us.
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A fossil recently found in the Zanda Basin in Tibet included remains of Pantera blytheae, a new species of big cat that is most closely related to the modern day snow leopard.
The skull of P. blytheae is the oldest big cat fossil found to date, and fills a significant gap in the fossil record. It indicates that ancient big cats lived nearly 6 million years ago, 2 million years earlier than previously thought, and sheds light on their geographic origins in Asia.
Illegal Maiming and Killing of Bobcats and Mountain Lions
A Mesa County outfitter and his assistant guide were indicted Tuesday on allegations that they conspired to lead clients on illegal hunts in Western Colorado and Utah between 2007 and 2010, state and federal officials announced.
Christopher W. Loncarich, 55, of Mack, and Nicholaus J. Rodgers, 30, of Medford, Ore., were hit with a 17-count indictment related to their alleged practice of illegally capturing and maiming mountain lions and bobcats in order to make hunting the cats easier for their clients, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a Wednesday news release.
The men are charged with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, interstate felony transportation and sale of unlawfully taken wildlife, and felony creation of false records concerning wildlife that was sold in interstate commerce.
Kind of creepy, but so is killing animals for their fur.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Highlights re: exotic cats:
Direct contact with dangerous animals (eg, nonhuman primates, certain carnivores, other species that may serve as reservoirs for rabies, and venomous reptiles (more completely described in the Animal Care and Management section) should be completely prohibited.
Even a 20 lb bobcat has wicked teeth
Animals Not Recommended in School or Child-Care Settings
• Inherently dangerous animals (eg, lions, tigers, cougars, and bears).
• Nonhuman primates (eg, monkeys and apes).
• Mammals at high risk for transmitting rabies (eg, bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes).
• Aggressive or unpredictable wild or domestic animals.
In 1986, ringworm in 23 persons and multiple animal species was traced to a Microsporum canis infection in a hand-reared tiger cub at a zoo. 149. Scott WA. Ringworm outbreak. Vet Rec 1986;118:342.
Although infectious diseases are the most commonly reported health problems associated with animals in public settings, other health risks exist. Injuries associated with animals are a commonly reported and important problem. For example, dog bites are a substantial community problem for which specific guidelines have been written. Injuries associated with animals in public settings include bites, kicks, falls, scratches, stings, crushing of the hands or feet, and being pinned between the animal and a fixed object.
These injuries have been associated with large cats (eg, tigers), monkeys, and other wild, zoo, or domestic animals. Settings have included public stables, petting zoos, traveling photo opportunities, schools, children’s parties, dog parks, and animal rides.k,n–p For example, a Kansas teenager was killed while posing for a photograph with a tiger being restrained by its handler at an animal sanctuary. Associated Press. Teen killed by tiger at Kansas sanctuary. 2005. Available at www.foxnews.com/story/2005/08/19/teen-killedby-tiger-at-kansas-sanctuary/. Accessed Sep 6, 2013
Dangerous animals—Because of their strength, unpredictability, or venom, or the pathogens that they might carry, certain domestic, exotic, or wild animals should be prohibited from exhibition settings where a reasonable possibility of animal contact exists. Species of primary concern include nonhuman primates (eg, monkeys and apes) and certain carnivores (eg, lions, tigers, ocelots, wolves and wolf hybrids, and bears). In addition, direct contact with species known to serve as reservoirs for rabies virus (eg, bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes) should not be permitted.
Because of the extended incubation period for rabies, unvaccinated mammals should be vaccinated at least 1 month before they have contact with the public.
Vet Med Today: Public Veterinary Medicine JAVMA, Vol 243, No. 9, November 1, 2013
A Historic Day for Snow Leopards!
I have great news to share with you from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan!
I have just returned from the Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum, held in the Kyrgyz capital on October 23rd. The forum was a great success, leading to an unprecedented commitment from all 12 range countries to save snow leopards!
The range countries adopted an official declaration to conserve snow leopards and a unified global snow leopard recovery plan. This plan outlines what needs to be done to secure the snow leopard’s future, and each range country has pledged to take decisive action. In fact, they have a goal to work together to identify and secure at least 20 healthy landscapes for snow leopards by 2020–now known as ‘Secure 20 by 2020.’
Most of the credit belongs to President Almazbek Atambayev of the Kyrgyz Republic, who initiated the multi-country effort in 2012, reaching out to the World Bank to help organize this landmark conservation forum; and to the governments of the other 11 range countries, who have all participated actively in the process.
However, I want to point out how proud YOU can be of this achievement.
Your generous support over the last years has allowed us to grow into a truly global leader in snow leopard conservation, and has enabled us to play a key role in realizing President Atambayev’s vision: We were asked to join the process leading up to this Forum in the very early stages, providing technical support and and playing a major role in guiding the drafting of the Global Snow Leopard Conservation and Ecosystem Recovery Program the range countries have just endorsed.
To give you an idea of what you’ve helped us achieve: Four of our Country Program Directors were asked by their governments to join the official country delegations in Bishkek. In other words: One out of every three snow leopard range countries had a Trust representative advise them on the most important snow leopard conservation commitment they’ve ever made – endorsing a landmark conservation strategy that will impact the future of snow leopard conservation for the next 7 years.
I want to thank you. It’s not a stretch to say that your support has been crucial in reaching this milestone for snow leopards, and I have no words to express how grateful I am for this.
To mark and remember this momentous occasion, and to bring greater awareness to snow leopards worldwide, October 23rd is also now recognized by all range countries as International Snow Leopard Day.
It’s a great success that we’ve managed to secure such a strong conservation commitment from all the snow leopard range countries. But, when reflecting on this past week on the way home, I’ve also realized that this is really where our work begins. Together with the range countries and countless international partners, we have laid a solid foundation for the cats’ future. Now, it’s up to everyone involved to carry the momentum created in Bishkek forward and take action!
I hope you will continue to support us as we advance on this exciting path. I hope this year and every year forward you will help us work toward our 20 by 2010 goal, and I hope you will take part in International Snow Leopard Day. Together, I know we can carry this moment forward to a better, brighter future for snow leopards.
Snow Leopard Trust
FWC shuts down illegal monkey sales
After two months of investigation, a black-market monkey operation in northwest Miami was closed down by a team of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers and investigators.
Jorge A. Garcia (DOB 10/28/58) had been operating a business breeding and selling several species of monkeys.
“This business has been operating for seven years,” said Capt. David Dipre, area investigations supervisor for the FWC. “We have been looking into it and were, fortunately, able to shut it down.”
Anyone wishing to possess, exhibit or sell monkeys in Florida must be properly licensed. This ensures that the animals are treated humanely and kept in healthy conditions, and that all humans interacting with the animals remain safe.
“This business was not only selling the monkeys without a license, but selling them to unlicensed individuals as well,” Dipre said. “So, people were receiving these animals without the proper training and knowledge to care for them. Also, the buyers were violating the law themselves, perhaps unknowingly.”
Twenty-eight monkeys, as well as other wildlife, were seized and placed in licensed facilities.
The people running the operation face charges of possession of wildlife without a permit, sale of wildlife without a permit, sale or transfer of wildlife to an unlicensed person, caging violations and records-keeping violations. These could lead to fines and/or jail time.
If you know of or suspect any similar violations, please report them to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline by calling 888-404-3922 or texting Tip@MyFWC.com.