Although the Snow Leopard is internationally regarded and legally protected as an endangered species, currently there exist no effective measures to stop poaching and loss of habitat in Jammu & Kashmir. The Snow Leopard population of Jammu & Kashmir has increasingly come under pressure as a result of poaching for furs, loss of habitat caused by deforestation and dam projects, and loss of food sources caused by similar environmental pressures. In both Pakistan and India-administered Jammu & Kashmir, this threat to the Snow Leopard has developed.

The armed conflict of the last 8 years in Jammu & Kashmir has further exacerbated this problem as the soldiers and armed resistance groups have shown little regard for species preservation. The instability has also allowed for an illegal trade of furs. A 1994 raid on a group of traders in Srinagar that hauled more than $1 million worth of furs and garments made from 1,366 of the world's most endangered wild cats, tigers, snow and clouded leopards and Bengal tigers indicated that the lack of effective measures to preserve endangered species has deteriorated further as a result of the 8 year old conflict. Cases like these reveal that the poaching of wildlife in Jammu & Kashmir's forests and in other Himalayan regions has returned with a vengeance that threatens some of the world's most beautiful and exotic animals after a period of curtailment of such poaching in recent decades. Under this situation, the Snow Leopard is directly threatened.

"That rarest and most beautiful of the great cats, the snow wary and elusive to a magical degree, and so well camouflaged in the places it chooses to lie that one can stare straight at it from yards away and fail to see it." Yet the snow leopard's talent for invisibility has not kept it safely out of the sights of hunters, who continue to kill the cat for its "coat of pale misty gray, with black rosettes that are clouded by the depth of the rich fur". Elusiveness also has done little to help the snow leopard cope successfully with an ever-increasing influx of tourists, sheep herders, dam-builders, and other humans eager to make use of the spectacular landscape.


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