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Endangerment of Snow Leopards (Essay Sample)

Analysis of how snow leopards have been endangered and how they can be saved. source..
Endangerment of Snow Leopards Name Institution Brief Background of the Snow Leopards As their names suggest, snow leopards are special types of leopards who inhabit the cold regions (Fox & Nurbu, 1990). They are 60 centimeters tall at the shoulder and they have a body length of about 100 to 120 centimeters (Mishra et al. 2003). They have whitish spots that are tinged with yellow. Mature male leopards weight about 55kg while the females weigh between 35kg to 40 kg (Mishra et al. 2003). The leopards are adapted to live in mountainous regions as seen in their large forepaws, short limbs and well-built chest muscles (Chadwick, 2008). They also have long hair and dense fur, a feature that enables them to thrive in the cold climate (Chadwick, 2008). Unlike other snow creatures, snow leopards are solitary. Their gestation period is about 110 days and a female leopard can give birth to 0ne to six cubs (Guynup, 2009). Endangerment of Snow Leopards Snow leopards are endangered creatures (Montgomery, 2009). This is seen in the drastic reduction of their numbers in the areas where they are believed to live. A survey that was conducted reveals that these creatures risk extinction if sound preservation measures are not put in place (Crane, 2014). However, before prescribing the preservation approaches, it is vital to establish how the leopards are endangered ( Janecka et al., 2011). This paper presents the different ways that contribute towards the endangerment of these valuable animals (Haider Mizra et al. 2012). Hunting for Bones and other products Bone trade is a primary threat to the survival of these little known types of leopards (Shehzad et al. 2012). Leopard bones and pelt are valuable commodities e.g. skin and organs (Shehzad et al. 2012). These commodities are used to produce different valuable items and this has caused uncontrolled destruction and killing of the snow leopards. The leopards are poisoned, hunted and trapped by poachers in different countries especially in Asia (Lyngdoh et al., 2014). The loss of snow leopards to hunters and poachers has raised concern in different parts of the world. Animal rights activists and governments have responded to these issues, but it is surprising to learn that less has been done (Gajewski, 2013). Of late, the main threat to these wild animals is the chinese medicine trade. The trade has promoted the killing of snow leopards in Nepal. Local people in Northern Nepal have always been blamed for the decreasing number of snow leopards because they trade leopard bones for sheep and other products along theTibet border (Gajewski, 2013). From Tibet, the bones find their way to China where they will be used in the manufacture of medicine. Some of the bones are also transported to various destinations in the south East Asia (Gajewski, 2013). Their products are used by the medicine men as a replacement of tiger's products. The fact that tigers are rare and cannot be easily found has led to the substitution of tiger with the snow leopards because the products from these animals can serve similar purposes in the preparation of the traditional medicine (Sterman, 2013). A poacher can get $200 for one snow leopard. Considering the fact those residents of areas where snow leopards barely earn $270 per year from other activities, it is clear that a dead snow leopard is a valuable product to every poacher (Sterman, 2013. The cost of $200 is what middlemen pay for the leopard. Otherwise, the leopard can cost even $10000 if sold directly to the medicine men (Sterman, 2013). Conflict with Herders and other Residents Conservation of snow leopards becomes complicated especially when they prey upon domestic animals (Murata et al., 20003). The whole activity commences when wild sheep and other animals consume food in the areas inhabited by the snow leopards. This leaves behind less food for the leopards hence leaving the leopards with no option but to prey on domestic animals so as to supplement the insufficient food (Murata et al. 2003). Their actions result in economic challenges among the herders and this erodes the herder's support for the conservation of leopards (Saey, 2013). As a result, the herders have been forced to retaliate by killing the snow leopards. In the light of this, the conflict between humans and snow leopards will lead to a reduction of snow leopards in the long run (Saey, 2013). Predation of wild animals on domestic animals is a poorly understood phenomenon that has always been welcomed by destruction of wildlife. The loss rates vary greatly depending on the area and seasons and this has been confirmed by the reports that, in some regions where snow leopards were known to be available, a person may not find even one leopard over a period (Jackson et al. 1996). The leopards may have either been killed or they may have fled to other saver areas (Jackson et al. 2006). Inadequate Protection Measures Most governments and states have not put in place sound protection measures (The mountain institute, 1997). In addition, the measures that have been put in place have loopholes that have resulted in the unnoticed destruction of snow leopards. Financial and human/manpower resources are also inadequate or they may be ineffective (The mountain institute, 1997). Those are not the only challenges, constraints such as remote and rugged terrain, harsh climatic changes and poor environmental conditions have caused the development of non-conducive environments that have affected the lives of the snow leopards (Pretty et al. 1995). Most governments have been reluctant to develop measures that can promote the lives of the snow leopards. Even the drastic environmental changes are attributed to human beings who have failed to practice measures that can lead to environmental protection (Oli & Rogers, 1994). Human activities such as the use of fossil fuels has caused global warming which has in turn lead to melting of snow in polar regions (Oli & Rogers, 1994). Therefore, the normal habitat has been affected which has contributed towards the endangerment of snow leopards. The governments have also not invested in the development of management measures (Mishra, 2000). Furthermore, they have failed to hire the right personnel who can champion the protection of snow leopards. Most governments focus on the protection of wild animals which are raised in game reserves and those that attract millions of tourists all year round (Mishra, 2000). Therefore, the self-interests that most governments and states possess have greatly endangered the snow leopards (Mishra, 2000). Conservation of the Snow Leopards The plight of the snow leopards has not gone unnoticed (Ford, 2009). There are different measures and approaches that have been set suggested to aid in the conservation of the leopards. These measures have always been advocated for as from 1972 when the snow leopards were included in the list of the endangered species (Ford, 2009). Different types of organizations and governments have suggested options that can be adopted to save the leopard. These options are in line with endangering causes that have been enumerated above. In this regard, the main approach is to promote cohesiveness between the leopards and human through education of the people on the importance of conserving these animals (Jackson & Wangchuk, 2001). From the causes explained, it is apparent that the snow leopards face many problems in relating with humans. Men kill them for their precious products. On the other hand, a person who is not interested in its products will kill it if the wild animal interfered with human activities i.e. if the leopards prey on livestock (Sanjayan & Johnson, 1997). The conservation's groups that have been formed in different parts of the world especially in Asia have played vital roles in conserving the leopards (Apple Snow Leopard Outselling Tiger and Leopard, 2009). These groups work closely with herders and farmers by educating them on how to co-exist with the endangered animals. The groups emphasize that if human beings reduce conflict with the leopards i.e. the snow leopards, less destruction will be witnessed. The groups also educate the residents on the importance of preserving the leopards for the future generations to experience the wild game (An Insecure Adobe in Snow Leopard's Midst, 2009). The groups emphasize that medicines produced from leopard parts can be produced by alternative products e.g. plants. Therefore, there is no need to harm the leopards when there are alternatives. The governments should always support the groups. For example, governments should reimburse the livestock lost to the leopards so that human beings cannot experience any losses due to preying leopards. As such human beings will see no need to attack preying snow leopards. References Lyngdoh, S., Shrotriya, S., Goyal, S. P., Clements, H., Hayward, M. W., & Habib, B. (2014). Prey Preferences of the Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia): Regional Diet Specificity Holds Global Significance for Conservation. Plos ONE, 9(2), 1-11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088349 Shehzad, W., McCarthy, T., Pompanon, F., Purevjav, L., Coissac, E., Riaz, T., & Taberlet, P. (2012). Prey Preference of Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) in South Gobi, Mongolia. Plos ONE, 7(2), 1-8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032104 Haider Mirza, N., Alexandra Jack, R., Hasnain, S., & Khan, K. (2012). PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF DNA TESTING AND GPS POSITIONING OF SNOW LEOPARD (PANTHERA UNCIA) GENETIC MATERIAL IN THE KHUNJERAB NATIONAL PARK (KNP), NORTHERN AREAS, PAKISTAN. Bulletin Of Pure & Applied Sciences-Zoology, 31A(2), 105-114. Crane, C. (2014). Dodging extinction: snow leopards get a help...
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