Life Improving Guide

Endangered Snow Leopard Pelts Seized in China

China’s State Forestry Administration has seized the pelts of 27 snow leopards from a black market trader. The dealer, a Mr. Ma, from western China was arrested recently. Aside from leopard furs, a stash of 104 bear skins and parts of clouded leopards and lynx were also confiscated from him.

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Snow Leopard Napping

This bust is a record of sorts and it puts a spotlight on the threat that is faced by this beautiful cat which is described at a very high risk of extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Referring to the recent raid in western China, Ge Yun, of the China-based nonprofit Xinjiang Conservation Fund (XCF) said:

Police found three snow leopard heads and two snow leopard skeletons in the raid.

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The arrested trader who is now in Chinese custody revealed to the police that he had purchased the pelts in his possession in Tibet and Qinghai in 2006. Since then, he had successfully sold two for a profit of around U.S. $530.

Mr. Li who works with the Chinese State Forest Administration under whose auspices the raid was conducted maintained that:

The snow leopard is endangered, and the government is working very hard to protect it.

The snow leopard or the Ounce as it is affectionately called is a large mountain cat found in Central and South Asia – including parts of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Mongolia and China. An elusive cat, the snow leopard is able to cut across snowy terrain, scrubland, grassland, and the steppes. It weighs between 35 to 55 kilograms and is often distinguished from other similar species by its proportionately longer tail, which helps it maintain its balance on the rugged terrain and unstable surfaces of its habitat. The Snow Leopard’s tail also doubles as a warmth cover and is used to cover its nose and mouth in very cold conditions. Its paws are also covered with fur to protect it form the extreme climate

Unfortunately for the snow leopard, its beautiful fur can be traded for a fortune. Blessed with a soft grey coat with ringed spots and rosettes of black on brown, the coat turns white in the winter. This makes it a favoured target for unscrupulous poachers. Moreover, locals also prize its skin and bones for traditional remedies. The illegal traffic in pelts and other body parts has in fact become the primary reason for the decline in snow leopard numbers. It is estimated that there are only 3,000 to 7,000 of these cats in the wild.

In the aftermath of this raid, several conservation groups and activists have asked for a stronger multinational presence in the enforcement of wildlife laws.

Read: National Geographic
Image: Wikimedia

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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