International Society For Endangered Cats

A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World

News From The Field: Snow Leopards at Mt. Everest

Wild cats can’t be saved without knowing what they need to survive in their natural habitat. What kind of habitat do they use? What are their activity patterns & social organizations? Without data collected by field biologists, conservation programs can’t be put in place. To further our educational efforts, we are posting regular Monday summaries of a paper written by wild cat field biologists, which briefly outlines their findings.

Since the early 2000s snow leopards Panthera uncia have re-colonized the southern slopes of Mt. Everest after several decades of extirpation. Are they now beginning to disperse to the adjoining valleys that may serve as habitat corridors linking the Everest region to other protected areas in Nepal? We conducted a cursory survey in autumn 2009 in Rolwaling, lying west of Mt. Everest and detected snow leopard presence. We conclude that in these remote valleys snow leopards must rely upon livestock given the low abundance of natural prey, Himalayan tahr. Livestock-rearing is unfortunately declining in the region. Rolwaling requires immediate conservation attention for the continued survival of the endangered snow leopard and other high altitude flora and fauna.

Som B Ale, Kamal Thapa, Rodney Jackson, J.L. David Smith

IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group Cat News newsletter


One response to “News From The Field: Snow Leopards at Mt. Everest

  1. Makenna O'Meara June 2, 2011 at 9:56 am

    As the largest conservation non-profit solely dedicated to protecting the endangered snow leopard, we work with communities who share snow leopard habitat to alleviate the pressures on these cats in the wild. We are conducting field research in Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, India and China right now to determine the best way to utilize our resources to protect this amazing species. To learn more, please visit our blog at

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