It's official, snow leopards are no longer an endangered species
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For the first time in 45 years snow leopards are no longer listed as endangered but experts warn they are still at risk, they now listed as ‘vulnerable’ rather than endangered.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, the global body that assesses animal extinction risk said ‘new data’ led to them moving the snow leopard from the endangered to vulnerable category.
The new data shows there has been an increase in the number of snow leopards.
Dr. Tom McCarthy, Executive Director of Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program and one of five experts who made up the re-categorisation assessment team said the following in a statement:
“To be considered endangered there must be less than 2,500 mature snow leopards and they must be experiencing a high rate of decline.
“Both are now considered extremely unlikely, which is the good news, but it does not mean that snow leopards are ‘safe’ or that now is a time to celebrate.
“The species still faces ‘a high risk of extinction in the wild’ and is likely still declining — just not at the rate previously thought.”
Snow leopards are native to the mountainous regions in Central and South Asia, so whilst information that they are on the increase is positive they are experiencing increasing habitat loss and facing threats from poachers and climate change.