Environmentalists warn snow leopards could 'vanish'

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Environmentalists Warn Snow Leopards Could 'Vanish'

Environmentalists are warning that climate change could cause snow leopards to vanish if urgent actions are not taken.

Figures from the World Wildlife Fund's recent report show that the populations of these big cats have dropped by about a fifth in the past 16 years with only an estimated 4,000 or fewer currently remaining in the wild in Asia.

Exacerbating the situation is the organization's calculation that climate change could render more than a third of their current habitat unlivable if trends continue.

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Snow leopards at risk of going extinct
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Environmentalists warn snow leopards could 'vanish'
Two snow leopard cubs are presented at the wildlife park Lueneburger Heide, in Nindorf-Hanstedt, Germany, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The cubs were born on May 5, 2015. (Philipp Schulze/dpa via AP)
Three six-week old male snow leopard (Uncia uncia) cubs are held by keepers prior to their medical examination in the Szeged Game Park in Szeged, 170 kms southeast of Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, July 19, 2012. (AP Photo/MTI, Zoltan Gergely Kelemen)
A snow leopard is seen in the new exhibit at the Central Park Zoo in New York, Thursday, June 11, 2009. The new exhibit houses three snow leopards and offers visitors a view of one of the most endangered big cats on the planet. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 03: Snow leopard seen at Bronx Zoo on January 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) adult running on snow, Asia (Captive)
Snow leopard (Panthera india), Montana, United States of America, North America
Close up of leopard yawning in snow.
A young Snow Leopard resting on some rocks
Playful Snow Leopard rolling in snow and sticking out tongue
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Snow leopards tend to be natural mountain dwellers at high elevations ranging from more than 11,000 feet to nearly 15,000 feet.

Scientists worry that rising global temperatures will allow farmers to grow crops and graze animals higher in the terrain which would reduce habitats for these endangered cats.

They also become more susceptible to killings by humans due to retribution over captive animals that are killed in addition to hunting and poaching.

In response, the environmental organization has been working with local communities on conservation-related policies.
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