The leopard, is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar. Once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, the leopard’s range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a “Near Threatened” species by the IUCN.
The snow leopard is a moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia. The classification of this species has been subject to change and its exact taxonomic position will not be resolved until further studies are conducted. Snow leopards live between 3,000 and 5,500 metres above sea level in the rocky mountain ranges of Central Asia. However, their secretive nature means that their exact numbers are unknown, although it has been estimated that between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards exist in the wild and between 600 and 700 in zoos worldwide. Snow leopards are smaller than the other big cats, but like them, exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 54 kilograms. Body length ranges from 75 to 130 centimetres , with the tail adding an additional 75 to 90 percent of that length.