Snow Leopard Population Thriving in Afghanistan


In a press release issued July 13, the Wildlife Conservation Society revealed the discovery of a healthy snow leopard population in the mountains of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. Rangers trained by WCS installed “camera traps” at 16 different locations across the region to document the rare felines. Their findings are the first camera trap records of snow leopards in Afghanistan.

“This is a wonderful discovery — it shows that there is real hope for snow leopards in Afghanistan,” Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director for Asia Programs, said in the press release. “Now our goal is to ensure that these magnificent animals have a secure future as a key part of Afghanistan’s natural heritage.”

The snow leopard is an endangered species native to the rugged peaks of Central Asia, roaming at altitudes between 9,800 and 17,000 feet. The WCS estimates that only 4,500 to 7,500 snow leopards remain in the wild. Experts believe this population has declined by 20% over the past 16 years. The elusive big cats are threatened by local shepherds, illegal capture for the exotic pet trade and poachers who covet their dense, spotted coats.

The WCS is developing several conservation initiatives to protect the snow leopards in Afghanistan. The group will partner with local communities to do educational outreach about the species and train additional rangers. Schools in the Wakhan region have already begun incorporating conservationist lesson plans, and 59 rangers have been trained to monitor the snow leopard population and enforce anti-poaching laws.

“We believe snow leopards will be conserved in Afghanistan over the long term,” said Anthony Simms, WCS Technical Advisor.

Related Stories

Afghanistan’s Wildlife Surviving in the Midst of War (VIDEO)

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Wildlife Conservation Vacation

Breaking News: UK Unanimously Votes For Circus Ban

Photo credit: Macpedia


William C
William C1 months ago

Thanks for caring.

W. C
W. C1 months ago

Thank you for the information.

Mostapha Zaher
Mostapha Z1 years ago

I am happy to report that not a single Snow Leopard has been killed, poached or trapped since the writing of this artilcle.
As of 19 August 2016, we 17 more of these magnificent creatures which we lovingly call "Spirits of the High Mountain Peaks" or simply "Moutain Ghosts.
The local people of the Wakhan National Park have played a key role in protecting them. They are on the top of the Critically Endangered Species list of the National Environmental Protection Agency of Afghanistan who are working very closely with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Konstantin Trubin

Hands off the habitat of snow leopards !

Konstantin Trubin

Вот. Это уже радует. В Казахстане, Киргизии и Таджикистане популяция снежных барсов очень сильно страдает от браконьеров, а Китае вообще есть склонность использовать части их тела в традиционной китайской медицине. В России же и в Афганистане снежно

Karen F.
Karen F4 years ago

If I had to pick a favorite animal... well, I can't but this IS wonderful news.

Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine A4 years ago

Wonderful news. They are such beautiful cats.

Fi T.
Past Member 4 years ago

It's encouraging

federico bortoletto

Notizia meravigliosa. Grazie.

Pat Vee
Pat Vee6 years ago

Good news thankyou.