Saturday, March 18, 2006

Snow leopard skins confiscated in Mongolia

Snow leopard skins confiscated in Mongolia


The endangered snow leopard is threatened by habitat loss and poaching.



16 Mar 2006

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – A WWF-supported anti-poaching unit in western Mongolia arrested a man for possession of four snow leopard skins, three of which were still wet from recent kills.


“There is an illegal trade network of leopard skins here in Mongolia,” said Yo Onon, a species officer with the WWF Mongolia Programme Office. “We are trying to put a stop to this illegal trade.”


The threats facing snow leopards include habitat fragmentation and uncontrolled hunting, especially as demand for their pelts and other body parts is high. Although it is difficult to assess the present-day scale of trade, snow leopard hunting has been reported from most central Asian range States and the Russian Federation since political and economic instability was ushered in by the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s.


In 2004, two people were found in Mongolia selling 17 snow leopard skins across the border with Kazakhstan. According to WWF, 5–7 snow leopard skins are sold annually in Mongolia's western provinces in the Altai-Sayan ecoregion.


“The transboudary trade of snow leopard skins is relatively easy as there are poor customs and border checks,” Onon added.


Although protected under national and international law, the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) remains a highly endangered species, with only about 4,500–7,350 found throughout a range of 12 countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The population in Mongolia is estimated at 1,000–1,500.


For more information:

Tuyachimeg, Communications Officer

WWF Mongolia



Joanna Benn, Commucations Officer

WWF Global Species Programme

Tel: +39 06 84 497 212



For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

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