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New census of snow leopards planned in wake of controversy over Red List downlisting

No one really knows for sure how many snow leopards there are left in the world, but an initiative spearheaded by snow leopard range countries and scientists announced last week aims to change that.

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is found in 12 countries in Central and South Asia. Its elusive nature and inaccessible, mountainous habitat were once believed to be keeping the snow leopard population relatively stable, but in recent years habitat loss and degradation, declining prey due to illegal hunting, human-wildlife conflict, and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade have all taken their toll, and the species is widely believed to be in decline.