It would be one of the 10 largest countries in the world. It also would be the 6th least dense country in terms of human population. It is the birthplace of many of the world’s greatest rivers – the Yangtse, Yellow, Ganges, Indus, Amu Darya, and others – that provide life-sustaining water to hundreds of millions of people. All of the mountains on earth that soar above 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) – well over 100 of them – are found here.
This huge, remote, and incredible region is the home to the snow leopard.
About the threats that snow leopards face:
Poaching (mostly for skins) and retaliatory killing (by shepherds after predation of livestock by snow leopards) were long suspected as the leading threat to these big cats, and a just-published study from TRAFFIC supports the belief that this may be leading to a decline in the snow leopard population.
The loss of wild prey, the great mountain goats and sheep that Schaller dubbed “mountain monarchs,” from overhunting and livestock impacts (competition, overgrazing, disturbance, and even disease) is also significant. Development in these high mountains is a slow and difficult task, but new roads are increasing access and the ability for mines and other extractive industries to reach the snow leopard’s home.