The snow leopard or ounce (Panthera uncia) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.
This roving, high altitude cat is rarely sighted and because it is so elusive, accurate population numbers are hard to come by, although estimates range from 450 to 500 individuals for India.
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HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
Snow leopards live in the mountainous regions of central and southern Asia. In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas. Snow leopards prefer steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrops and ravines. This type of habitat provides good cover and clear view to help them sneak up on their prey. They are found at elevations of 3,000-5,000 meters or higher in the Himalayas.