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Snow Leopard

October 23 is World Snow Leopard Day. Please join me in raising awareness and funds for this endangered species of big cat!  25% of the proceeds from the sale of holiday cards, postcards, stickers, and stamps in this collection go to the Snow Leopard Trust

7 snow leopard facts: 

1. Snow leopards aren’t leopards that live in snow. Snow leopards and leopards are two separate species of big cats.
2. Snow leopard populations are vulnerable because of people hunting them for their bones to use in Chinese medicine and for their thick fur, habitat loss from human settlements and livestock grazing space, retaliation killings (farmers killing snow leopards for killing livestock), and climate change.
3. Snow leopards live high in the mountains in Central Asia incl. the Himalayas. They can have home ranges over 1,000 square km or 400 square miles. Their large home ranges and harsh habit make it difficult to track and protect them.
4. Snow leopards are the apex predators (the top of the food chain with no predators except for humans) in the rugged mountains of Central Asia. Hence, they are a keystone species, “an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.”
5. Snow leopards have been depicted on banknotes of Kazakhstan, a country in central Asia. 
6. Outside of mating season or mothers with cubs, snow leopards are solitary, so solitary that there is no word in the English language for a group of snow leopards.
7. Snow leopards have long tails (almost as long as their bodies, around 3 ft or 1 m) that help keep sensitive areas warm like a scarf, to help maintain balance up on rocky terrain, and to store fat for when food is scarce. 

 Sources: Snow Leopard Trust, WWF, Panthera

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