Sixty percent of the world's snow leopard habitats are located in China, according to a report released by the country's 19 protection organizations and research institutes to mark International Snow Leopard Day on October 23.
The large cat mainly lives in 12 countries, including China, Kazakhstan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Mongolia.
The report said researchers had studied just 1.7 percent of snow leopard habitats in China, mainly in Qinghai, Tibet, Xinjiang, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, with few studies conducted in the southern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the western Tianshan Mountains.
Major threats to snow leopards are hunting, separated habitats, reduction of prey populations, and low levels of awareness of the need to protect them. Lack of conservation capacity and climate change are thought to also bring increased dangers to snow leopard populations.
The melting of glaciers and frozen soils in the Tibet Autonomous Region due to climate change pose the biggest threat, followed by stray Tibetan Mastiffs in Qinghai Province. The trade of wild animals has also reduced the number of potential prey options available as a food source for the snow leopard.
China listed the animal as a critically endangered species back in 1996.