In the deep dark chasm,
Upon the sides of the walls,
Motion with lightning's shape and speed,
And before it the swift deer falls.
Its color blended ever light,
Gray white and shades of dun,
Streamlined shape and hunter's eye,
And incredible speed to run.
Against a snowy background,
Imposing yet serene,
The fearsome leopard of the snow,
Can hardly yet be seen.
Snow leopards are endangered from causes such as the trade in its pelt and global warming. The fur is made into coats and hats, and their bones and other body parts are also used in traditional medicine. Tigers are supposed to be used in the practice of traditional medicine, but they are already so rare (their populations have lessened from this too) that the more common snow leopard is substituted.
Their numbers are hard to estimate, due to the fact that snow leopards live in rugged, remote terrain. This makes conservation more difficult, so an interesting device was employed. With as few snow leopards as there are, you can tell the individual leopards by their spots. As a result, pictures taken by a remote camera are compared to those in a photo library. In that way, they can estimate how many there are.
As elusive as snow leopards are, we still know quite a bit about them:
Wild sheep and goats are the snow leopard's main food, as well as an
occasional buck or rabbit.
A snow leopard can leap thirty feet.
Snow leopards have enormous, furry tails. They use them for balance, but if they get cold they can wrap their tail around themselves.
Snow leopard cubs have blue eyes. When they get older, snow leopard eyes get grayer.
Let's hope we can save them. We should start conserving energy by using solar power and stop buying coats made from snow leopard, or, for that matter, any other kind of fur.