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Endangered Snow Leopard - Research Paper Example

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Your complete name Submission date Endangered Snow Leopard 1. Introduction Snow leopard is categorized as critically endangered species by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN, 2001) .Endangered species is categorized as highly exposed to extinction (Hogan and Jamison)…
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Download file to see previous pages Global snow leopards’ effective population size is estimated to be about 50 percent of the total population which implies that there are 2,040-3,295 snow leopards in the world (qtd. in Jackson et al.) This paper studies the factors contributing to the threats of snow leopards’ extinction; its impact; and suggested solutions. Snow leopard is found in the high mountains of Central Asia with major regions that include: Altai, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Tian Shan, Kun Lun, Karakorum, and Himalayan ranges (McCarthy et al.).Ecological regions are defined to be Altai-Sayan, Trans-Altai Alashan, Tian Shan, Pamir, Gobi, Hindu-Kush, Himalayas, Karakorum, Tibetan Plateau, and Hengduan Mountains (Williams, 2008 qtd. in Jackson et al.) 2. Causes of being endangered Major factors which contribute to the threats of snow leopards include: decreasing prey base; illegal trade; encounter with local people; lacking conservation activities; inadequate policy and implementation; and lack of awareness among people (Jackson et al.).The Snow Leopard Survival Strategy determined major threats to the specie which can be categorized as: habitat and prey; direct killing; policy and awareness; and other issues (McCarthy et al. 31). 2.1 Habitat and Prey Threats  2.1.1.Habitat Fragmentation and Degradation         Snow leopards utilize several habitat types on marginal basis; however, they have strong association with high alpine tundra which is a very fragile ecosystem itself. Such narrow scale of habitat expose snow leopard to the vulnerability of habitat change in particular. Changes in the habitat over most of snow leopard range do not comply with the common perception of habitat degradation and fragmentation. Construction of roads, large scale natural resource extraction, and urbanization takes place within the snow leopard range; however, its incidence is rare due to remoteness and inaccessibility. Most observed form of habitat alteration is comparatively subtle but equally destructive and happens in the form of livestock and their owners’ interference (McCarthy et al. 29).  2.1.2. Natural Prey Reduction         Snow leopard’s habitat mountain ungulates are hunted, either illegally or without any regulation. They are hunted by locals either for meat or as a symbol of their victory; meat is also used to serve for honored guest or on special holidays. Moreover, wild meat is greatly appreciated due to its medicinal value. Sometimes, illegal hunting occurs as a result of commercial activity. There is nearly absence of legal hunting by locals which disenfranchises them and makes it hard to comply with the law. Legal harvesting exceeds the allowed area which results in the reduction of snow leopard food resources (McCarthy et al. 30). 2.1.3. Legal Hunting of Natural Prey Sheep and goats trophy hunting is quite prevalent and a lucrative business in most of snow leopard rage-states. It generates wealth for private and state hunting reserves. However, they can play a vital role in community base conservation by providing local people with the incentives to protect wild life and its habitat. These hunts are not properly manages and lead to either medium-term social instability or long-term genetic issues. Major conflict in interest is created by the major part of income is generated by trophy hunting. Ungulate stock is reduced limiting the surviving ability of snow leopard and other carnivores. Other declining prey species ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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