Like all wild cats, snow leopards face threats from continuing human development, with new cities, roads, farmland and other establishments gradually cutting into the snow leopard’s territory. Since snow leopards are happy to hunt farm animals too, farmers often consider them to be a nuisance, killing them to protect their animals.
Fortunately, the news isn’t all bad. Although the snow leopard is considered an endangered species due to shrinking territory and other human-caused factors, the mountainous environments it considers home are not the sort of places humans like to live, giving it a better chance of survival than some of the other large cats.
Although it’s hard to study such an elusive creature, especially since it lives in mountainous regions far away from civilization, scientists estimate that about 4,000 to 6,000 snow leopards live in the wild, with another 700 living in zoos throughout the world. Conservation groups like the Snow Leopard Trust, the Snow Leopard Conservancy and others work to protect this species from extinction, working with local communities and governments to improve its chances of survival.