More Big Cats in the Snow for Christmas

Tiger Running Through Snow by Eric Kilby. CC BY-SA 2.0

Last year on this day, I released a post titled “Big Cats in the Snow for Christmas.” It literally just featured pictures of various big cats in the snow, and it was one of my most successful posts of 2017. Here is the sequel to that unexpected hit, which I have christened “More Big Cats in the Snow for Christmas.”

Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)

The Amur leopard is one of the most endangered cats in the world. This subspecies of leopard (Panthera pardus) lives in the Russian Far East, and numbers just over 80 individuals. Sadly, this is an improvement over estimates of 30 Amur leopards in the year 2000. While the growth of Amur leopard populations is a conservation success story, we need to keep doing all we can to help this beautiful cat recover.

Amur leopard (Panthera pardus ssp. orientalis) in winter, Zoo Schönnbrunn Vienna, Austria by Alexander Leisser. CC BY-SA 4.0

Lion (Panthera leo)

Here is something you do not see every day: a lion in the snow. This photo was not taken in the wilds of Africa, but at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC. Lion populations are declining rapidly, and we need to act swiftly and decisively to prevent the extinction of one of the most iconic animals on Earth. In a recent post, I shared a National Geographic story which claimed that snaring is now the dominant threat to Africa’s lions.

Smithsonian’s zoo-the Lion Luke by Fabartus. CC0 1.0 Public Domain

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)

Of course, no post about big cats in the snow would be complete without a picture of a snow leopard. This blog is replete with information about these extraordinary cats, including this recent post.

Snow Leopard by Cloudtail the Snow Leopard. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Tiger (Panthera tigris)

The tiger’s vibrant, orange coat contrasts beautifully with the snowy background in this post’s featured image, which was taken in Boston (presumably at a zoo). The tiger is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and is closer to extinction than perhaps any of the ‘true’ big cats (those species in the Panthera genus). Tigers face many threats, including poaching for the Traditional Asian Medicine trade, and the conservation organization Panthera estimates that there are now only 3,900 tigers left in the wild.

Tiger Running Through Snow by Eric Kilby. CC BY-SA 2.0

Further Reading:

24 Thoughts

  1. Hope you’re having a happy holiday season Josh!
    Thanks for sharing all the great info on these magnificent cats.
    I feel that we all can do our part in our own way – towards a better world for big cats, environment and (even) our fellow humans :) (I’m trying to keep things positive for the holidays!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the lion looking up at the snow like, “Dafuq is this?”

    I had checked up on amur leopards after taking a picture of the one we have at our zoo a couple years ago and saw the same 30 figure for individuals in the wild, so I’m glad to see the number is at least a bit higher today…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yea, when I saw that pic I knew I had to use it! I imagine snow isn’t something that lions have historically encountered very much in Africa…

      The 80 Amur leopards figure is definitely an improvement, but the species is still far from safe, so more work needs to be done to help them recover. Who knows, maybe this time next year there will be 160 Amur leopards? Unlikely, but possible.


  3. The takes on the snow are captivating. It’s a shame such majestic creatures are in danger. The info you shared on them made it a worthy conservation post.
    Hope the effort on their conservation grows.
    Wish you a third post on the topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we are jealous – and fearful. I suspect that may partially be why killing animals like big cats is seen as a ‘macho’ feat. Of course, large predators can be difficult to coexist with, and I don’t want to trivialize the challenges that people in big cat country sometimes face.


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