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Snow Leopard Conservation gets boost from IUCN

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A new initiative supported by IUCN Save Our Species will protect more habitat and create new community partnerships in Kyrgyzstan.

There is no place for snow leopards quite like Kyrgyzstan. Dominated by soaring mountains, over half of the country is considered prime roaming grounds for the big cats. Kyrgyzstan also sits at the crossroads of north and south snow leopard range, and boasts a high diversity of species, including the iconic snow leopard as a flagship.

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As of spring 2020, IUCN Save Our Species is partnering with the Snow Leopard Trust on an ambitious and innovative 18-month project to protect even more habitat through community partnerships in this prime region. 

Globally, as few as 3,500 snow leopards may remain in the wild and an estimated 150-200 are believed to remain in the stronghold of Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan and Alai Mountains.

Snow leopards are officially recognized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their general population trend is thought to be decreasing. Localized extinctions are believed to have occurred in some areas of the former Soviet Union, including Kyrgyzstan. Poaching and intensifying human-wildlife conflicts are major threats to snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan, and across the cat’s range it’s believed that roughly 2-10% of the population could be poached annually.

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