Over the last few years the number of snow leopards has drastically fallen all over the world due to several factors. However, since snow leopard is a symbol of Kazakhstan, it is very important to conserve the animal in the country.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, snow leopard is a large cat “of upland central Asia with long heavy grayish-white fur irregularly marked with brownish-black spots, rosettes, and rings”. It lives in eleven countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. The main causes of the snow leopard extinction in Kazakhstan are poaching, illegal killings, loss of habitat and prey and climate change. Since these factors are connected to each other, preventive actions in Kazakhstan should cover all of them together. There are approximately seven thousands of them left in the world, but it is impossible to determine the exact number. Snow leopards 2-4 thousand meters above the sea level and avoid populated areas. They are absolutely harmless to people, snow leopards are not able to attack human due to their psychology.
The main prey of the animal is mountain goat, but nit laso preys on the cattle. That is why it is important to protect snow leopard’s natural prey as well – so that herdsmen wouldn’t be forced to protect their cattle. The government of Kazakhstan has taken sevral measures to save snow leopards. Firstly, snow leopards are protected by the law, as under the criminal law illegal hunting is punished by five hundred monthly assessment indices. Secondly, several governmental and non-governmental organizations in Kazakhstan started their protection projects, such as Irbis and Snow Leopard Protection Project. Thirdly, Kazakhstan has ten wildlife sanctuaries, and snow leopards enhabit two of them – Almaty and Aksu-Zhabagly.
Despite all the taken ,easures, the number of snow leopards in Kazakhstan keeps falling, and it is the citizens’ responsibility to take measures.