I'm quite chuffed this week after the Fundraising team, at the Aspinall Foundation, asked me if they could use some of my pictures to promote their adoptions. The foundation, for those that do not know, basically runs two zoos in Kent and places in Africa, dedicated to wildlife conservation.
This term my daughter has to do a project on wild animals and she has chosen to do a book about snow leopards - also my favourite big cat. She has already robbed me of all my snow leopard pictures from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation so to boost her collection and find out a little more about them we took her to Port Lympne to see Marta. As a suprise we adopted Marta in my daughter's name and she received an adoption pack with photos and information that the foundation has kindly allowed her to use in her book. By way of thanks I sent some of my efforts back and I was elated when they asked if they could use them.
The snow leopard, panthera uncia, also known as an ounce, lives mainly in the high mountains of central Asia. They like steep terrain well broken by cliffs, ridges, gullies and rocky outcrops. It is currently classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List. The total population is believed to be between 4000 and 6500 and decreasing but the estimate is very out of date (2003) - the snow leopard is vary elusive! Their principal diet is bharal or blue sheep and ibex. They are estimated to consume around 20-30 adult blue sheep per year. They will also eat smaller mammals. Their principal threats are pray base depletion, illegal trade and conflicts with local people (domestic livestock pray).
You can see more pictures of snow leopards in the Aspinall and Wildlife Heritage Foundation galleries.