Snow Leopard Stories

  • Snow leopard numbers jump in Bhutan

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2024
    Finding a snow leopard is an unusually difficult feat. With dappled gray-white fur, the extremely furtive big cats are well-camouflaged in their rocky and harsh Himalayan habitat.
    Snow leopard walking toward camera
  • Bhutan’s snow leopard population increases by almost 40% in only six years

    October 23, 2023

    Bhutan’s snow leopard population increased by 39.5% since 2016, according to a new survey implemented by the Royal Government of Bhutan’s Department of Forests and Park Services with support from WWF-Bhutan and partners. Findings from over 10,000 camera trap images confirmed the presence of 134 snow leopards in the country, an impressive jump from the baseline of 96 snow leopards in 2016.

    A snow leopard walks across a high ridge with mountains and a bright blue sky in the background
  • Eight species making a comeback

    March 03, 2022

    Recovering species is essential for effective wildlife conservation and critical to the work WWF does around the world. Here are just a few of our favorite, recent recovery stories.

    Banke Nepal camera trap
  • From tiny to mighty

    February 17, 2022

    Meet the puppies that protect herder families and snow leopards in Mongolia.

    A baby stands smiling at the camera while a sitting puppy sniffs the baby's face face
  • What does a snow leopard researcher do?

    November 22, 2021

    Samundra Subba is a research officer at WWF Nepal with a focus on large carnivores—primarily tigers and snow leopards. He’s joined six satellite telemetry expeditions of snow leopards. This is his journey.

    A snow leopard with a GPS collar gazes off into the distance in the snow
  • GPS collars shed new light on elusive snow leopards

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2021
    In May 2021, a team of WWF scientists, national park staff, veterinarians, and 17 citizen scientists set out on an expedition in the Dolpo region of Shey Phoksundo National Park.
    Snow leopard with GPS collar
  • Two snow leopards successfully collared in Nepal

    June 15, 2021

    Scientists successfully collared two snow leopards in Western Nepal—a feat that will help researchers learn more about this elusive and vulnerable species. The satellite GPS collaring of these big cats brings Nepal’s tally of collared snow leopards to eight.

    A snow leopard looks to the right wearing a satellite collar and sitting on a rocky slope
  • More than 70% of snow leopard habitat remains unexplored

    May 17, 2021

    Snow leopards live in some of the most rugged landscapes in Asia’s high mountains, which makes it incredibly difficult to study these rare and elusive big cats. A large majority of snow leopard habitat remains under-researched, according to the first-ever systematic review of snow leopard research conducted to date.

    A snow leopard lying down in the snow looks directly at the camera
  • Exciting new survey shows stable snow leopard population in Mongolia

    March 17, 2021

    Mongolia’s first-ever national snow leopard survey shows that the country’s population of this elusive, big cat is stable. The survey confirmed the presence of approximately 953 snow leopards—an exciting discovery because it indicates that current conservation efforts are effective and will help develop future strategies to protect this charismatic big cat.

    A snow leopard stalks along a mountain pass in Mongolia
  • Small-scale dairy manufacturing provides local livelihood opportunities in western Mongolia

    February 02, 2021

    Dairy is a staple in the diets of Mongolian people but until recently, the sale of milk products was not a prominent source of income for local herders. As it turns out, diversifying community livelihood options in this village in the Bayan-ulgii province has also led to increased protections for snow leopards in the area. A win for people, and a win for nature.

    An adult yak stands with two baby yaks staring at the camera with a mountain range in the background
  • A landmark snow leopard collaring in Nepal

    May 21, 2020

    Elusive and solitary nature, snow leopards are rarely spotted and even less frequently studied within their rugged and harsh habitat. However last November, two snow leopards were captured, fitted with satellite-GPS collars, and successfully released back into their rocky homeland in Western Nepal. The two male snow leopards were the first since the 1980s to be fitted with collars within Shey Phoksundo National Park in Western Nepal.

    Collared snow leopard on rocky terrain in high mountains of Western Nepal
  • Emerging technology helps WWF monitor snow leopards

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2019
    The population of snow leopards in Russia has remained stable for the past three years, according to a recent WWF survey. This may not seem groundbreaking, but it is, in fact, excellent news.
    Snow leopard
  • New survey finds stable snow leopard population in Russia

    October 04, 2018

    Last winter, a WWF census found a total of 61 snow leopards in Russia’s Altai-Sayan Ecoregion, a remote landscape where high, snowy mountain ranges offer a last refuge for this rare feline. Snow leopard numbers have been relatively steady in Russia since WWF and partners first began monitoring them three years ago. But with fewer than 7,000 estimated to live in the wild, they remain endangered.

    snow leopard camera trap
  • Fast Forward: Protecting snow leopards and adapting to climate change in Asia's High Mountains

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2018
    Our “At the Top of the World” feature introduced a rural herding community in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan as they worked to protect snow leopards and adapt to climate change. Here's where we are now.
    Mountains in Kyrgyzstan
  • New photo evidence of snow leopards in northeast India

    October 23, 2017

    For perhaps the first time ever, a snow leopard was captured by a camera trap in a remote forest in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh remains largely unexplored, making this photographic evidence of snow leopards especially significant. 

    snow leopard caught by camera trap
  • Changing people and landscapes: Farida's story

    May 24, 2017

    In Kyrgyzstan, community based conservation activities led by Farida Balbakova have paved the way for an integrated, climate-smart landscape management plan to protect the snow leopard.

    Farida Balbakova
  • Nepal successfully collars four snow leopards in four years

    May 17, 2017

    A snow leopard was successfully collared in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area on May 8, 2017 making it the fourth one to be collared in Nepal’s eastern snow leopard conservation complex.

    Collared snow leopard, Yalung.
  • Laying the groundwork for snow leopard conservation in Sikkim

    February 21, 2017

    Phuchung Lachenpa and his team are using local knowledge to set up camera traps throughout their region, laying groundwork for improving snow leopard conservation efforts. 

    Two snow leopards caught on a camera trap
  • Adapting to new challenges in the Tian Shan Mountains

    January 06, 2017

    The animals of the Central Tian Shan mountain range find protection from unlikely guardians: the residents of nearby mountain communities. 

    A landscape image with a man in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan
  • Protecting snow leopards and pandas with Disneynature's Born in China

    Through the release of its new film, Born in China, Disneynature takes moviegoers on a journey into the wilds of China. The film will support WWF’s comprehensive conservation efforts in China and funds raised from Born in China will focus on improving landscape connectivity and integrity across three landscapes that are home to the species in the film and covering the traditional range of the giant panda. 

  • Snow leopard research provides new challenges to an old hand

    October 20, 2016

    In the 19 years Tenzin has been working in conservation, Wangchuck Centennial National Park's first ever population survey of snow leopards has been the most challenging project, but also the most satisfying. 

    Ranger Tenzin
  • Where do snow leopards live? And nine other snow leopard facts

    Snow leopards scale the great, steep slopes of mountains in Central Asia with ease, blending into the landscape. But these endangered cats face many threats including habitat loss, reduced prey and retaliatory killings. WWF works to reduce human-leopard conflict and protect the fragile snow leopard habitat.

    Snow Leopard
  • Children help secure a future for snow leopards in Mongolia

    August 11, 2016

    Three years ago, researchers from WWF-Mongolia set up camera traps to photograph snow leopards in and around Khovd Aimag’s Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain, located in western Mongolia’s Altai Mountains, to determine the elusive cat’s population size and distribution.

    Student leaders pose in front of sculpture
  • Snow leopard research breathes new life into community conservation in Nepal

    July 05, 2016

    Just beyond the remote mountain village of Yangma in the high Himalayas of eastern Nepal, Nepali conservationists fitted a female snow leopard with a GPS collar. The collar will allow scientists to track this snow leopard’s movements daily for the next year, which will help us learn more about these mysterious and endangered cats. This female becomes the third snow leopard collared near Yangma since 2013, the first two having both been males.

    setting up gear to collar a snow leopard