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Snow Leopards

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chelsey butcher

on 8 June 2013

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Transcript of Snow Leopards

Snow Leopards Population Growth Species Interactions Characteristic of populations Snow Leopards are found in high areas around Central Asia. The species overall distribution is 2 million km2 even though there are not many left. Throughout this 2 million km2 the snow leopards habitat dispersion crosses through twelve different countries; Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The largest snow leopard density would be in China, which contains 60% of the wild population. Due to the extreme habitats* the snow leopards live in their carrying capacity is small. Human intervention and large territories** are also a factor in the small carrying capacity. Even though snow leopards became endangered in 1972 the species population continues to decrease. If the current trends seen in snow leopard populations continue over the next five years then the population would continue to decline, even maybe going so far as to become extinct in the wild all together. As stated earlier there are various limiting factors in the snow leopard species that help bring them into the 'endangered species list'. Due to the harsh climate and rocky terrain they live in it is difficult for the leopards to find prey to survive. Another factor lies in the snow leopards mating. Since these creatures live alone in large territories they must travel many distances to find a potential mate during the months of January-March. If a mate is not found by this time a whole year must go by before the attempt to search again. As such the growth of the species is limited. Living in a rugged environment, the snow leopards only interactions are those of its prey. Classic prey involves the bharal sheep, the mountain ibex, pikas, hares, and various game birds
Due to the fact that all the interacted species are prey to the snow leopard they do in fact influence the growth and sustainability of these cats. If in abundance the snow leopard population will thrive due to increased food gain. If the prey are lacking in numbers than the snow leopards will suffer do to absence of food. Other than as a food source these species have no other influence on the snow leopards. Human Influence Humans have effected snow leopards in various ways. Due to the snow leopard having a beautiful fur coat many poachers hunt this animal for its fur. They can also hunt them to use their bones in traditional asian medicines. Since the areas snow leopards live in are also traversed by livestock humans take up more land with their livestock leaving less for the leopards. The herders also kill the cats if the snow leopards eat any of their livestock. Yet another negative effect on snow leopards lies in mining. Since they often make their homes in mountains snow leopards face the dangers of miners using dangerous chemicals and even explosions. Conservation Biology Snow Leopard Trust is an organization created to-as the title says-learn and protect snow leopards. This organization works in only 5 of the 12 countries snow leopards are found in but in those 5 countries are 75% of the wild leopards. Their mission is to learn about this elusive cat, provide communities that live near snow leopards knowledge on how to work together with the snow leopard, and to gain resources to protect snow leopards in the long term. Sources http://www.snowleopard.org/learn/cat-facts/habitat
http://snowleopardblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/sl-mitchell-kelly-film2.jpg Since snow leopards are solitary animals once they reach the age of 18-22 months they will go off on their own. Snow leopards reach sexual maturity at age 2-3. When in captivity these felines can live until the age of 21. Knowing all this information you probably wonder to yourself 'is there anything I can do to help?'. Now while we a half a world away from the cats there are still resources available to let you contribute. On the organization that was stated earlier website you can donate money to fund the research staffs who try to protect the snow leopards. Though this is more of a present day protection. How do we protect the leopards long term? Education. By educating people they become aware of what they are doing and will strive (usually) to aid in the protection of these cats, even if it is something as small as a money donation or as big as a natural reserve. Due to the decreasing snow leopard population the genetic diversity of this species has also been declining; however since snow leopards have such large territories the genetic diversity hasn't declined as quickly as in other species. **a single snow leopards territory can be 10-140km2; depending on the country they are found in *high mountains; generally as high as 3000-4500 meters Due to the snow leopards evasive nature it is seemingly impossible to find population data before the species became endangered; however since the population continues to struggle past data still has higher populations than current day. Bharal Sheep Mountain Ibex Pika Tibetan snow cock Tibetan Woolly Hare Zoologist: Making from 33,000$-90,000$ these animal scientists require at least a Bachelors degree for simple work and a Masters or PhD for more advanced work. A zoologist is one of various careers that are reflected around animals, in this case the snow leopard. The Zoologist is very important because they can do a variety of jobs to help the snow leopard. They can travel to remote areas to research the animal first hand or even stand behind in zoos and educate the world on this endangered cat. The End By: Chelsey Butcher
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