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The beautiful and exotic snow leopard has been listed as endangered species 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 wild cat 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." These big cats 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 these rare animals, 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 these beautiful cats in all of their glory, and vote for the photos that make you wish you could adopt one.

#1

Snow Leopard

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vladhorobet avatar
Vlad Horobet
Community Member
6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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    skiller_kenzo avatar
    Henrique Kenzo
    Community Member
    6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    They're no longer endangered? Great! Now let's keep it that way, please. o_o

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    #3

    Snow Leopard

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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

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    vladhorobet avatar
    Vlad Horobet
    Community Member
    6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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    #9

    Snow Leopard Cubs

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    vladhorobet avatar
    Vlad Horobet
    Community Member
    6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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    #16

    Snow Leopards

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    kobeshen123 avatar
    CatShatBrix
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    6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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    #31

    Snow Leopards

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    kobeshen123 avatar
    CatShatBrix
    Community Member
    6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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