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Mammals Gastropods Reptiles Arachnids Aquatic Insects

  Why should we be concerned about wildlife conservation issues?


  Let us consider the highly-endangered Snow Leopard as an example of an animal that needs protection. The Snow Leopard or Ounce is the keystone species of the fragile Trans-Himalaya ecosystem.

The welfare of this 'keystone' or 'indicator' species is - as the name suggests - an indicator of the health of its overall habitat. A classic keystone species is a small predator that prevents a particular herbivorous species from exploding in numbers and wiping out the dominant plants, thus dramatically altering the character of the ecosystem.

The Snow Leopard


Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Panthera
Species: P. uncia uncia
Binomial name:
Panthera uncia

The Snow Leopard is a very efficient hunter of herbivores ranging from large mammals to small rodents. In a finely-tuned natural balance the Snow Leopard helps to keep the population of these herbivorous mammals in check .

If the Snow Leopard becomes extinct, the herbivore population will mushroom to the extent that it will eventually wipe out all the vegetation in the area. Gradually the whole habitat will be converted over time to a cold lifeless desert which will not be able to sustain a significant wildlife population. Hundreds of unique plant species, numerous bird species including threatened waterfowl like the black-necked crane and bar-headed geese, and mammals like the ibex, urial, tahr and markhor will also become extinct.

Ultimately the existing ecosystem will perish with the Snow Leopard. This ecosystem change may also affect the overall climate of the planet.


Image Courtesy : Stock Xchng



Mammals Gastropods Reptiles Arachnids Aquatic Insects
All photographs ? Dr. Bakshi Jehangir 2005 and beyond. Powered by The Kashmir Network