Snow leopards have evolved to live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. Their white-gray coat, spotted with large black rosettes, blends in perfectly with the steep and rocky mountains of Central Asia.
The snow leopard’s powerful build allows it to scale great steep slopes with ease. Its hind legs give the snow leopard the ability to leap six times the length of its body. A long tail provides balance and agility and also wraps around the resting snow leopard as protection from the cold.
For millennia, this magnificent cat was the king of the mountains. The mountains were rich with their prey such as blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas and hares. Snow leopards are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia - but their population is dropping. It is listed as endangered because, as of 2003, the size of the global wild population was estimated at 4,080 – 6,590 adults. Fewer than 2,500 snow leopards may be reproducing in the wild. As of 2016, estimates for the size of the global population vary from at least 4,080 to about 8,700 individuals.
Photo was processed in black and white because this was captured through a window which had a blue hue to it, which couldn't be compensated for.
Photo captured at the Brookfield Zoo on August 24, 2017.
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