Environmentalists warn snow leopards could 'vanish'

Environmentalists Warn Snow Leopards Could 'Vanish'
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.

See photos of the gorgeous animal:

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.

Originally published