The beautiful and exotic snow leopard has been listed as 'endangered' since 1972, but a glimmer of hope is now peaking through for these embattled mountain cats. After a 3-year assessment of population decline rates, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has upgraded the status of the snow leopard to 'vulnerable.'

"The species still faces a high risk of extinction in the wild and is likely still declining," conservationist Tom McCarthy stated. "Just not at the rate previously thought." Snow leopards are heavily hunted for their thick skin and bones, leading to a rapidly decreasing adult population in the wild. While the world should still be extremely worried about the status of snow leopards, we can at least celebrate their new condition as a small victory in the fight for their survival.

Snow leopards are native to Central Asia, and are therefore considered important symbols of native culture in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and parts of Russia. Scroll down to celebrate this stunning feline in all of its glory, and vote for the photos that make you wish you could adopt one.

#1

Snow Leopard

HecklingHyena Report

Vlad Horobet 1 year ago

This is the reason they are endangered... Leopard in the back is like : "god damn it moon moon, not again..."

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#2

This Snow Leopard Cub Would Like A Belly Rub Please

MrXhin Report

Hope Floats 1 year ago

So soft and fluffy and gorgeous. ..

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#3

Snow Leopard

guicoelho Report

Vlad Horobet 1 year ago

I'm a hunter. I caught the fluffy danger noodle that was following me.

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#4

Got It!

Tiefenschaerfe Report

Iapetos 1 year ago

Parenting...

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#5

Unlike Many Other Big Cats, Snow Leopards Are Not Aggressive Towards Humans. There Has Never Been A Verified Snow Leopard Attack On A Human Being

arip Report

Vlad Horobet 1 year ago

How i sleep during the weekends knowing that is no alarm clock to wake me up to go to work.

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#6

Snow Leopard

sooper-deviant Report

Vlad Horobet 1 year ago

This guy makes a pretty good mime.

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#7

Snow Leopards

Ken2407 Report

Flinkie 1 year ago

Kitten Luv

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#8

Shit Happens

Johannes Nollmeyer Report

ugaas wiilhoog 1 year ago

Reminds me of kung fu panda, the villain Tai Lung.

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#9

Snow Leopard Cubs

HecklingHyena Report

Vlad Horobet 1 year ago

snow leopard avalanche... It's raining leopards and leopards...

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#10

Snow Leopard Cub

darkSoul4Life Report

Flinkie 1 year ago

Peek-a-bo! <3

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#11

Young Snow Leopard

elke.os Report

Vlad Horobet 1 year ago

He looks so much like a tiger.

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#12

Still Waiting For Snow

Uwe Gibkes Report

Nancy E 1 year ago

Beautiful backdrop to highlight beautiful animal !

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#13

Snow Leopard

andrefuz Report

BoredBirgit 1 year ago

Majesthetic.

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#14

Playful Snow Leopard

Abeselom Zerit Report

CatShatBrix 1 year ago

Brother?

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#15

Snow Leopard

Report

Nancy E 1 year ago

Look at the symmetry in that great tail !

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#16

Snow Leopards

Urs Witschi Report

CatShatBrix 1 year ago

Once again, the wise eyes of the mother leopard stares solemnly into the wilderness...

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#17

Snow Leopard Love

tibrooster Report

Nancy E 1 year ago

A little snuggle to make the day !

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#18

Snow Leopard In Snow Storm

Abeselom Zerit Report

Martha V McLeod 1 year ago

I don't like winter either...

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#19

Snow Leopard

Christian Mladik Report

Nancy E 1 year ago

Such a sweet picture !

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#20

Snow Leopards

Ronald Coulter Report

CatShatBrix 1 year ago

'This doesnt concern you, Paul!'

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#21

Laila

Gary Brookshaw Report

Nancy E 1 year ago

Hear me roar !

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#22

Snow Leopard

Stacy Woolhouse Report

Gwen Abbott Asmussen 1 year ago

Me when I'm told there's no more coffee!

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#23

Asaki

MickMickNYC Report

Vlad Horobet 1 year ago

Bro, bite this lemon me :

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#24

Young Snow Leopard

photo-sommer Report

Kizzy Kizzy 1 year ago

MOM MOM MOM LOOK MOM MOMLOOKATME

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#25

Snow Leopard

Margaret Kearns Report

Aaaa Bbbb 1 year ago

My husband's face when someone says something unscientific.

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#26

Snow Leopard Cub

Wayne Hewitt Report

CatShatBrix 1 year ago

'And... Boo!'

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#27

My Bed

Alida Jorissen Report

#28

O Sole Mio

Olga Gladysheva Report

Sue Long 1 year ago

Hittin' the snooze button!

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#29

Snow Leopard

SheltieWolf Report

Kizzy Kizzy 1 year ago

Die snow lol

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#31

Snow Leopards

Urs Witschi Report

CatShatBrix 1 year ago

The mama leopard watches you with her wise, experienced eyes...

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#32

Snow Leopard

http://andrewskelton.net Report

Cat on a bike 1 year ago

So small and yet trying to be so fierce :)

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#33

Early Learning

Cath Schneider Report

#34

Young Snow Leopard In Fern

elke.os Report

Copper Vyxen 1 year ago

"MOM! Billy is chewing on my tail!!!"

#35

Mama And Son

Briana May Report

Crazy Cow Lady 1 year ago

This photo looks fake

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