Monday, December 23, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Snow Leopards

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom fans the world over hold Joe Rohde in the highest of esteem.  So for this series I felt the best place to begin is with an animal near and dear to Mr. Rohde’s heart, the Snow Leopard.  People who follow Mr. Rohde’s blog will recall how earlier this year he traveled to Mongolia to help raise funds for the Snow Leopard Conservancy by creating and selling original painting and donating all the proceeds to help save these incredible alpine cats.

Snow Leopards are listed as endangered, and the “best guess” is the worldwide population is somewhere between 2,000-7,000 cats.  But the range of these allusive creatures can be huge and estimating how many are in the wild is almost impossible.  What we do know is the largest threat they face is the same one many other endangered species face, humans.  Contact with livestock is one reason they are hunted.  But they are also poached for their fur, used for fashion purposes, and their bones, which are used in traditional Asian medicines.  It’s an all too familiar refrain in the fight to save wildlife.

On a personal note, I fell in love with these unique cats this past summer when I ventured over to the Bronx Zoo.  Earlier this year, the zoo welcomed the birth of a snow leopard cub and when we visited the cub was putting on a show for zoo guests by playing and frolicking to the delight and laughter of us all.  All the photos in this post are from that trip.  Seeing this cub really brings home the importance of saving snow leopards for future generations. If you live in the New York area head to the Bronx Zoo and see them.

So what can we do?  In the spirit of Joe Rohde we can help the Snow Leopard Conservancy in any way possible.  Head over to their website,  Their you can learn about these amazing cats, the dangers they face and what these people are doing to help.  Look around, it is really great website with loads of information and photos.  You can also send them a holiday gift by making a donation right on their front page.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

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