Geng Sanyavit Pattaranavakul
Ms. Ann Montgomery
May 2, 2017
The Camouflaged Cats
Deep in Asia where the land meets the sky, where the cold is below zero degrees, where a cat jumps and disappears like a ghost in a glimpse of the mountain shadows. They live across the high cliffs, steep hills, and rocky terrain where the heart of Asia belongs and the culture is divine. These solitary cats can be seen in the glimpse of a second and disappear. Over time, since the cold is slowly turning warm as it seems, these cats have been far from existence. Their fellow friends are gone far from the human eyes can see. Today our kids and their next generation seems impossible to ever see these wild furry cats run around like how they did in the past. To the powerful jumps, sharp claws, vigorous jaws, and with a beautiful camouflaged fur that hides in corners of the Earth; they’re the snow leopards that are roaring for help from the deep cold of this planet.
The snow leopard, or panthera uncia from the phylum chordata, belongs to the mammalia and they’re rarely seen. They have a life span from 8 to 10 years but they can live up to 18 if they’re kept in captivity. These wild cats live high up in the mountains at a high altitude around 16,000 feet above the sea level, and they survive by hunting on smaller mammals such as goats, deers, yak, and many more. These wild cats hunt from dawn to dusk, they live through the twilight zone, and scattered during the day. The snow leopards start reproducing in late winter from december to march when the females starts spraying or urine on rocks to show the males nearby that it’s time for offspring, the young snow leopards becomes independent around the age of 18 to 22 months old and become sexualy matured around 3 to 4 years old. These cats live in the highland of Asia deep in the high mountain range and freezing weather like the Himalayas and they can be found in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
These wild cats are listed as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). In 2003 they claimed that their adult global wild population was estimated to be approximately 6,590, today their population is around 4,000 left this number was announced by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). The loss of wild cats’ population came from their famous camouflaged fur. These wild cats are being hunted and killed for the fur trade throughout the 20th century. In 1920s about a thousand snow leopard skins were traded in Russia, and following years to come these wild cats population have decreased a substantial amount that their population were at risk of becoming extinct. By 1972 these beautiful glamorous cats were classified as endangered, and the commercial trade for their pelts and their bones have been banned under an international treaty. Their fur can be use for fashion because of its design and plush texture and their bones are being use for traditional Asian medicine.
From 1970 till today, their population is still declining because there are bigger conflicts that the organization and media are focusing on, such as extreme poverty, and refugee crisis. Not just coming from hunting, and the swayed media’s attention, these cats have to face a bigger problem: today, the cold over the high terrain is losing its value because of global warming and the peak of the summit is now lonely without its friends the snow leopards. The climate is getting warmer and warmer in the high altitude, where the sun is direct, and these cats with their thick dark tone fur are suffering and burning in the heat. Together with these non profit organization such as the snow leopard trust and WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), we can help save these cats by raising the awareness of the fur trade and to establish laws for the 12 countries to protect these wild cats – we need to stop using leather products, using bones for medicine, and stop global warming. Together we can.