- High Kingdom - Snow Leopard
- (scroll down for description)
- 34 1/2 x 48, acrylic, 1986
Of all the big cats, the snow leopard is perhaps the most endangered species. Although it lives in one of the wildest and least accessible parts of the world, the Himalayas, it is very vulnerable. If the tropics are the richest in life forms, the poles and the mountaintops are the most sterile. Vegetation is sparse, plant eaters are scarce, and therefore, the predators will be few and their breeding potential low.
Also, as in most parts of the planet, man is increasing and attempting to expand his agricultural boundaries. This means his flocks supplant the wild goat and deer that the leopard feeds on. The leopard naturally turns to domestic animals and gets killed by the herdsman. Trophy hunters also shoot him for his rare and luxurious pelt.
The snow leopard is large with thick, gray fur and an exceedingly long and heavy tail. The tail serves to balance as he leaps from rock to rock and also acts as a warm muff. The face is different from all other cats, being very wide between the eyes with a prominent forehead. They like to sit high in the mountains with a commanding view watching for food that is decreasing and watching for enemies which, sadly, are increasing. The species really need the help of those who care.