The snow leopard (uncia uncia) is a large cat that mainly lives in the Central Asian highlands. Because of his resemblance he is frequently mistaken for a leopard although he has a longer, mostly grey fur and is also smaller than his “brother”. The large cat’s soles are covered with a thick hair pad which enlarges the surface of his feet and enables him to move over the snow-capped mountains as if on snow shoes. This enables him to balance his body weight and the cat of prey doesn’t sink into the snow fields as deep. A much better progression is ensured. This advantage in the wilderness is not to be underestimated.
The mating season is in the months of January up until March. After a gestation period of approx. 100 days the mother can give birth up to five cubs. At birth the cubs are still blind and have a black fur. They weigh about 500 grams and are old enough to go their own way with about 18 to 20 months. The snow leopard is a loner. Up until today one does not know what age this animal can reach in the wild.
In captivity the lifespan can amount to 20 years and more. Unfortunately, as well as many other animals, the snow leopard belongs to the endangered animal species. Globally it is supposed that only 7000 free living animals still exist. The most of these live in China and Mongolia. In the Mongolian Steppe there are unfortunately not even one thousand animals left. Despite the setup of facilities for sanctuaries a constant reduction is registered. Regretfully the reason for the reduction is due to the illegal but lucrative fur hunt.