Saturday, 3 November 2012

Panthera uncia

The Snow Leopard is an Asian large cat that is generally found in mountainous terrain above 3000 feet.  It has a thick coat and a stocky build, with relatively small ears and a long tail. The range of this species runs from the Hindu Kush in Pakistan and across the Himalayan foothills to the Khangai Mountains in Mongolia.
Here is a late afternoon shot taken with a telephoto lens and a polarising filter to help with the image as the sun is behind the subject.
These fine animals are on the endangered list and, although accurate counts of their population are out of date, it is estimated that there may be as few as 4000 individuals left in the wild.  There are more than 600 individuals in zoos around the world.
Should you wish to see these particular Snow Leopards, you can visit Twycross Zoo and go into the Himalaya shop and cafe.  You do not even need to enter the zoological gardens (though it would be a shame not to see the primate collection for which the zoo is world renowned).  You can see the Snow Leopard enclosure from the cafe window.
The Leopards tend to have muddy paws from time to time.  Just have a thought for the window cleaner, who will not clean the outside of the windows when the cats are on the prowl.....;-)

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