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Monday, August 31, 2009

Wildlife- Snow Leopard (January 21, 1984)

The Snow Leopard may appropriately be called Rock Leopard, as it inhabits comparatively arid lofty mountain where its pelage merges imperceptibly with grey rocks of its background. Of all the larger cats the Snow Leopard is perhaps the most beautiful. Its fur besides being thick and densely luxuriant is most handsomely marked. The body colour is grey varying to greyish-buff with widely scattered black spots on the outer surface of the limbs. It stands about 56 cm at the shoulders. It has a long thick tail, which helps him in maintaining balance while negotiating steep cliff.
The snow Leopard leads a rather solitary life and travels widely to hunt over a very extensive area. It takes shelter in cleft and at times it is found basking on rocky peaks.
In Pakistan, it inhabits the inner Himalayan ranges where both snowfall and rainfall is scant. In summer it is found in meadows up to 5200 m elevation but in winter it occasionally descends to the broad mountain valleys lying as low as 1500m.The favoured prey of this mammal is Markhor (Capra falconeri), lbex (Capra ibex) and Bharal (Pseudois nayaur).
The Snow Leopard has come increasingly under the assault of hunters and is threatened with extinction. Some of the parts of Pakistan where it can still be found are the Chitral, Gol and the Khunjerab National Park where it is protected under the law. Legislation was promulgated in 1968 in Pakistan totally banning the trade in Leopard Skin.
To focus world attention on the need to protect and preserve this vulnerable wildlife species Pakistan Post Office is issuing two special postage stamps of 40-Paisa and Rs 1 .60 values depicting \"Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)\'on January 21, 1984. It is a part of the series on wildlife stamps being issued by Pakistan Post Office since 1975.