Snow Leopard


Darjeeling Zoo, home to the world’s largest number of snow leopards in captivity, boasts 14, including six cubs, marking a success story for India’s lone Conservation Breeding Programme.

Snow Leopard

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is a magnificent creature often referred to as the “ghost of the mountains”.


Native to the high mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, including countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.


  • Thick, pale gray fur with large, dark rosettes for camouflage in their snowy environment.
  • Long, bushy tail for balance while navigating steep terrain.
  • Stocky build and short legs adapted for agility on rocky slopes.
  • Can grow up to 7 feet long, including the tail, and weigh between 40 and 120 pounds.


  • Solitary and elusive, known for their incredible stealth and camouflage.
  • Primarily nocturnal hunters, preying on wild sheep, ibex, marmots, and other mountain animals.
  • Excellent climbers, capable of leaping great distances and scaling treacherous cliffs.

Conservation Status:

  • Snow leopards are classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
  • Their populations are threatened by poaching, habitat loss due to infrastructure development and climate change, and human-wildlife conflict.

Interesting Facts:

  • Snow leopards have the thickest fur of any cat species, helping them survive in frigid temperatures.
  • They have unusually large nasal cavities, which give them a keen sense of smell for tracking prey.
  • Although not aggressive towards humans, they may attack livestock if their natural prey is scarce.