Tuesday, March 4, 2014

There are about 600 snow leopards in captivity (1) with only about 3,500 to 7,000 in the wild (2). There are many reasons as to why snow leopards are threatened, despite their presence on the endangered species list. Many are being captured and killed for their fur on the illegal wildlife trade market. Another issue the hunting of them by farmers whose livestock is being killed by the big cats. And lastly, is the habitat loss and fragmentation of land for agricultural purposes (2). Though the killing of snow leopards is still going on, many organizations are trying to boost the numbers in the wild. This is being done with radio tracking, observational research, and also captive breeding. In this case, it is beneficial for the snow leopards to be in captivity, to dodge the hunting and killing and breed in a safe environment (3). But not all snow leopards are so lucky. There are other zoos that have snow leopards in horrid conditions (4). 
While it is quite amazing and magnificent to see these beautiful creatures up close, the question that is always in the back of my mind is: Is this where they should be?
Weighing both sides of the scale: education, conservation.... abuse and malnutrition... 
It's really up to you. 

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