Stalking the mountains at the roof of the world, the enigmatic snow leopard has just had a stay of execution. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which assesses wildlife as to how good or bad they are faring, has just announced that the big cats are to be downgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable”.
It is now thought that there are at least 4,000 adult snow leopards still prowling the peaks of the Himalayas, meaning that the felines no longer meet the criteria set by the IUCN for “endangered status”. While this is clearly good news, the conservationists involved have warned that this does not mean that the cats are doing well or face no threats. They are still declining, just not as rapidly as we once thought.
The snow leopard has been listed by the IUCN as “endangered” ever since it was first assessed by biologists back in the 1970s. Living …