The Afghan Snow Leopard

Oldest snow kitty (in Tokyo)

Panthera uncia

The Snow Leopard, national symbol of Afghanistan, thrives in the demanding compartmentalized cold weather environs above the tree line. They are perfect images of resilience; large paws and nasal cavities for hunting on snow and warming frozen air respectively. They use their large tails like blankets for their faces when they sleep, and snow leopards often use fractured mountainsides as blinds from which they accost their prey.


Snow leopards are considered a vulnerable species, with around 10,000 wild adults as of 2019. As apex predators, they have an important role in the ecosystem, but rising temperatures inherently reduce their habitats. Moreover, illegal animal trade and poaching coupled with the environmental concerns leave experts projecting that their population will continue to decline.


Considering the snow leopard’s distribution, which bears no semblance to national borders, the snow leopard’s future is, like so many other important things, a matter of international cooperation. To read more about an organization engaged in this effort, please visit the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Afghanistan webpage:

WSC Afghanistan