|Wildlife Artist Alan M Hunt||
Original Snow Leopard Paintings For Sale by Alan M Hunt
Snow Leopard Painting by Alan M Hunt SOLD
The snow leopard (Uncia uncia or Panthera uncia) is a medium to large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia. Snow leopards live between 3,000 and 5,500 metres (9,800 and 18,000 ft) above sea level in the rocky mountain ranges of Central Asia.
Because of their secretive nature means that their exact numbers are not known, although it has been estimated that between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards exist in the wild and between 600 and 700 in zoos worldwide.
Original Snow Leopard Painting By Alan M Hunt
Snow leopards are smaller than the other big cats but like them they exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 54 kilograms (60 and 120 lb). Body length ranges from 75 to 130 centimetres (30 to 50 in), with a tail of nearly the same length.
Snow leopards have long thick fur, the base colour of which varies from smoky grey to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their body with small spots of the same colour on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tail.
Original Snow Leopard Painting by Alan M Hunt
Snow Leopard Painting Size 20" x 30" by Alan M Hunt SOLD
Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold mountainous environment. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their feet are wide, which distributes their weight better for walking on snow, and they have fur on their undersides to increase their traction on steep and unstable surfaces, as well as to assist with minimizing heat loss. Snow leopards' tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance. The tails are also very thickly covered with fur which, apart from minimizing heat loss, allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep.
Snow leopards cannot roar, despite possessing some ossification of the hyoid bone. The presence of this ossification was previously thought to be essential for allowing the big cats to roar, but new studies show that the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx, which are absent in the snow leopard.
The snow leopard's habitiat range in central and south Asia is rugged mountainous regions of approximately 1,230,000 square kilometres (470,000 sq mi), which extends through twelve countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The geographic distribution runs from the Hindukush in eastern Afghanistan and the Syr Darya through the mountains of Pamir Mountains, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kashmir, Kunlun, and the Himalaya to southern Siberia, where the range covers the Russian Altai mountains, Sajan, Tannu-Ola mountains and the mountains to the west of Lake Baikal. In Mongolia it is found in the Mongolian and Gobi Altai and the Khangai Mountains.
Paintings of Snow Leopard
SOLD "Snow Leopard Study" Painting By Alan M Hunt
In summer, the snow leopard usually live above the tree line on mountainous meadows and in rocky regions at an altitude from 2,700 to 6,000 m (8,900 to 20,000 ft). In winter, it comes down into the forests to an altitude of around 2,000 m (6,600 ft). It leads a largely solitary life, although mothers may rear cubs for extended periods of time in dens in the mountains.
An individual snow leopard lives within a well defined home range but does not defend its territory aggressively when encroached upon by other snow leopards. Home ranges vary greatly in size. In Nepal, where prey is abundant, a home range may be as small as 12 km2 (5 sq mi) to 40 km2 (15 sq mi) and up to five to ten animals are found here per 100 km2 (40 sq mi); whereas in habitats with sparse prey, an area of 1,000 km2 (400 sq mi) supports only five of these cats.
Snow leopards are carnivores and actively hunt their prey. However, like all cats, they are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever meat they can find including carrion and domestic livestock. They are capable of killing animals three times their size but will readily take much smaller prey such as hares and birds.
The diet of the snow leopard varies across its range and with the time of year, and is dependent on prey availability. In the Himalayas it preys mostly on bharals (Himalayan blue sheep) but in other mountain ranges such as the Karakoram, Tian Shan, and Altai, its main prey consists of Siberian ibex and argali, a type of wild sheep, although this has become rarer in some parts of the snow leopard's range.
Original Snow Leopard Painting
Other large animals eaten include various types of wild goats, sheep and other goat-like ruminants such as Himalayan tahr and gorals, plus deer, boars, and langur monkeys. Smaller prey consists of marmots, woolly hares, pikas, various rodents, and birds such as the snow cock and chukar.
It is not averse to taking domestic livestock, which brings it into direct conflict with humans. Herders will kill snow leopards to prevent them from taking their animals.
Snow leopards prefer to ambush prey from above and can leap as far as 14 meters (46 ft)
Snow leopards usually mate in late winter and have a gestation period of 90–100 days. Litter sizes vary from one to five cubs but two or three is more usual. The cubs remain with their mother until they become independent after around 18–22 months. Snow leopards normally live for 15–18 years, but may live for up to 20 years in captivity.
The Snow leopard total wild population of the snow leopard was estimated at only 4,080 to 6,590 individuals by McCarthy et al. 2003 (see table below). Many of these estimates are rough and outdated.
SNOW LEOPARD Conservation efforts
Himalayan Love Song Not Available by Alan M Hunt
There are numerous agencies working to conserve the snow leopard and its threatened mountain ecosystems. These include the Snow Leopard Trust, the Snow Leopard Conservancy and the Snow Leopard Network. These groups and numerous national governments from the snow leopard's range, non-profits and donors from around the world recently worked together at the 10th International Snow Leopard Conference in Beijing. Their focus on research, community programs in snow leopard regions and education programs are aimed at understanding the cat's needs as well as the needs of the villagers and herder communities impacting snow leopards' lives and habitat
Snow leopards have symbolic meaning for Turkic people of Central Asia, where the animal is known as irbis or bars, so it is widely used in heraldy and as an emblem.
The snow leopard (in heraldry known as the ounce) (Aq Bars) is a national symbol for Tatars and Kazakhs: a snow leopard is found on the official seal of the city of Almaty, and a winged snow leopard is found on Tatarstan's coat of arms. A similar leopard is featured on the coat of arms of North Ossetia-Alania. The Snow Leopard award was given to Soviet mountaineers who scaled all five of the Soviet Union's 7000m peaks. In addition, the snow leopard is the symbol of the Girl Scout Association of Kyrgyzstan.
Paintings of Snow Leopard
"Prince of Asia " Original Snow Leopard Paintings by Alan M Hunt Prints Available
Interesting Snow Leopard Facts
Size: 4 to 5 ft (1.2 to 1.5 m)
Tail, 36 in (91 cm)
Weight: 60 to 120 lbs (27 to 54 kg)
Protection status: Endangered
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Original Painting By Alan M Hunt
Snow Leopards have powerful legs and are able to jump as far as 50 feet (15 meters).
Snow Storm Snow Leopard Painting
Snow leopards use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill.
2 x Original Snow Leopard Painting By Alan M Hunt
Conservation Projects / Links
Snow Leopard Trust
Snow Leopard Conservancy
The Snow Leopard Network
Original Snow Leopard Painting