October 23rd

International Snow Leopard Day

International Snow Leopard Day

At the first Global Forum on Snow Leopards and Ecosystem Conservation held in October 2013, all 12 snow leopard countries endorsed the Bishkek Declaration, recognizing that snow leopard conservation would require more than individual efforts. A year later and every year thereafter on October 23, International Snow Leopard Day is held to commemorate the anniversary of the Bishkek Declaration and to raise awareness of the snow leopard.

The snow leopard, also known as the irbis or snow leopard, is a large cat species native to the mountainous regions of Central Asia. It resembles a leopard but is slightly smaller and more robust. The snow leopard's habitat consists mainly of mountain meadows and pastures above the forest line. It primarily preys on mountain ungulates, but also hunts smaller animals such as rodents and birds. The population of wild snow leopards is difficult to monitor due to the inaccessibility of their habitat, but estimates from 2003-2014 range from 3,920 to 7,500 individuals. The species is classified as vulnerable and is protected by legislation, but its main threat is still illegal hunting and poaching for the lucrative trophy trade. Conservation projects for the snow leopard have been established in recent decades, including the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program, which aims to identify and protect at least 20 healthy populations across the species' range by 2020. In captivity, the snow leopard has been successfully bred, with over 500 individuals in zoos worldwide. The snow leopard is not a common heraldic animal, but it is featured in the coat of arms of the Russian republic of Khakassia and the cities of Almaty and Bishkek. It was also one of the mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.


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