Snow Leopards

Panthera uncia

Known throughout the world for its beautiful fur & elusive behaviour, the endangered snow leopard is found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia. Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home. Because of their huge territory range they have to cope with temperatures ranging from -40º Centigrade to  40º+ C.

Distribution & Habitat

The snow leopard’s habitat extends through twelve countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Snow Leopards prefer the broken terrain of cliffs, rocky outcrops & ravines. This type of habitat provides good cover & clear views to help them find prey & sneak up on it.

Diet

The three most important prey species for snow leopards are the Blue Sheep (also known as Bharal), the Asiatic Ibex (a large wild goat) & the Argali (another wild sheep species).

Life expectancy & Breeding

Life in the wild is harsh & life expectancy is around 10 to 12 years. In captivity, snow leopards have been known to live for as long as 22 years. They mate in winter & cubs are born in spring. The female is typically pregnant for 93-110 days before retiring to a sheltered den site & giving birth to her cubs (usually 2 or 3). The diligent mother raises her offspring alone, providing food & shelter for her cubs.

Conservation status

ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) Despite a range of over 2 million km2, scientists estimate that there may less than 4,000 snow leopards left in the wild. Billabong Zoo supports the work of the Snow Leopard Trust. 

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Billabong Zoo, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444 is one of only four zoos in Australia to care for Snow Leopards, which are the most endangered big cats on earth with a wild population estimated at less than 4,000. We are the only zoo in Australia to offer our visitors an Up-close personal encounter with our gorgeous resident cats: Kamala (female) & Sabu (male) | Samarra (f) & Khumbu (m). Book an Up-Close personal encounter today  9:15am & 4:00pm daily – must be booked in advance.

SNOW LEOPARD KEEPER TALK: daily at 4:15pm