Today is International snow leopard day.
Snow leopards are expected to lose two thirds of their habitat by 2070
Snow leopards are one of the most emblematic species of the Central Asian mountains.
Yet their habitats are under unprecedented pressure due to climate change and related drivers such as land-use change and habitat degradation, shift, fragmentation or loss, as well as increased human-wildlife conflict.
Rising temperatures are forcing livestock such as goats and yak calves to move further uphill to graze, thereby encroaching on snow leopard territory. Glaciers that support snow leopards are also retreating.
As a result, two thirds of the habitats of this majestic species are expected to be lost by 2070. In some countries, the figure rises to up to 80%.
In response, new work led by UN Environment aims to stem the effects of climate change on mountain species in Central Asia and other regions.
The Vanishing Treasures project, funded by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, aims to improve and share solutions for wildlife management that takes climate change into account. These solutions will follow an ecosystem-based approach and may include creating movement corridors for species and restoring fauna. Sustainable land use practices that reduce pressure on species will furthermore be promoted.