Earth Our Home Too : Snow Leopards

You must know this marvelous cat’s name which “Mac OS X” also carries. The Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because as of 2003, the size of the global population was estimated at 4,080-6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 individuals may reproduce in the wild.

Unusually among cats, snow leopards also eat a significant amount of vegetation, including grass and twigs.

The snow leopard is the National Heritage Animal of Pakistan. The snow leopard is distributed from the west of Lake Baikal through southern Siberia, in the Kunlun Mountains, in the Russian Altai mountainsSayan and Tannu-Ola Mountains, in the Tian Shan, across KazakhstanKyrgyzstanTajikistan, and Uzbekistan to the Hindu Kush in eastern AfghanistanKarakoram in northern Pakistan, in the Pamir Mountains, and in the high altitudes of the Himalayas in IndiaNepal, and Bhutan, and the Tibetan Plateau. In Mongolia, it is found in the Mongolian and Gobi Altai and the Khangai Mountains. In Tibet, it is found up to the Altyn-Tagh in the north.

The snow leopard cannot roar, despite possessing partial ossification of the hyoid bone. This partial ossification was previously thought to be essential for allowing the big cats to roar, but new studies show the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx, which are absent in the snow leopard. Snow leopard vocalizations include hisses,chuffing, mews, growls, and wailing.

File:Snow leopard portrait.jpg

Snow leopards are slightly smaller than the other big cats but, like them, exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 55 kg (60 and 121 lb), with an occasional large male reaching 75 kg (165 lb) and small female of under 25 kg (55 lb).They have a relatively short body, measuring in length from the head to the base of the tail 75 to 130 cm (30 to 50 in). However, the tail is quite long, at 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in), with only the domestic-cat-sized marbled cat being relatively longer-tailed. They are stocky and short-legged big cats, standing about 60 cm (24 in) at the shoulder.

Snow leopards have long, thick fur, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails. Unusually among cats, their eyes are pale green or grey in color.

File:Schneeleopard P1040242.jpg

Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their paws are wide, which distributes their weight better for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase their grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Snow leopards’ tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance, which is very important in the rocky terrain they inhabit. Their tails are also very thick due to storage of fat and are very thickly covered with fur which allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep.

File:Léopard des neiges 14081.jpg File:Uncia uncia.jpg

The snow leopard is solitary, except for females with cubs. They rear them in dens in the mountains for extended periods. Snow leopards are carnivores and actively hunt their prey. Like many cats, they are also opportunistic feeders, eating whatever meat they can find, including carrion and domestic livestock. They can kill animals more than three to four times their own weight, such as the bharalHimalayan tahrmarkhor and argali, but will readily take much smaller prey, such as hares and birds. They are capable of killing most animals in their range with the probable exception of the adult male yak

File:Lightmatter snowleopard.jpg

Litter sizes vary from one to five cubs, but the average is 2.2. The cubs are blind and helpless at birth, although already with a thick coat of fur, and weigh from 320 to 567 g (11.3 to 20.0 oz). Their eyes open at around seven days, and the cubs can walk at five weeks and are fully weaned by 10 weeks. The cubs leave the den when they are around two to four months of age, but remain with their mother until they become independent after around 18–22 months. 

File:SnowCubs01.jpg

Range Country Habitat Area
(km2)
Estimated
Population
Afghanistan 50,000 100–200?
Bhutan 15,000 100–200?
China 1,100,000 2,000–2,500
India 75,000 200–600
Kazakhstan 50,000 180–200
Kyrgyzstan 105,000 150–500
Mongolia 101,000 500–1,000
Nepal 30,000 300–500
Pakistan 80,000 200–420
Tajikistan 100,000 180–220
Uzbekistan 10,000 20–50

There are also approximately 600 snow leopards in zoos around the world.


Courtesy : Wikipedia

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Eco Preservation : Seven Wonders of the Water World

Many lists have been made touting the seven wonders of one thing or another but one list that still needed to be created was a list describing the Top Seven Wonders of the Underwater World. In 1989, CEDAM International, an international diving association, decided to write up their own list describing what they thought were the most spectacular underwater sites in the world. And the 7 wonders of the underwater world includes,

01 The Galapagos Islands

Located in the Pacific Ocean, west of Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands. The islands sprouted from the earth’s crust from a sub oceanic lava vent on the ocean floor. The relatively new volcanic geology created a habitat rich with flora, fauna, and animal life that have been studied and admired by numerous travelers, scientists, and nature-lovers from all over the world.

02 The Northern Red Sea

Some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world are located in the Northern Red Sea. Considered by some to be the underwater “Garden of Eden,” this reef has some of the most diverse sea life in the world. Located in the Indian Sea between Asia and Africa, the Northern Red Sea spreads out over 169,000 square miles. More than 70 species of hard coral, 30 species of soft coral, over 500 species of fish including hundreds of additional marine life species classified as invertebrate call this reef home.

03 Palau

Palau is an island nation located about 500 miles from the Philippines. Some of the most beautiful fish in the world live in these reefs. More than 350 species of hard corals, 200 species of soft corals, 300 species of sponges, and 1,300 species of reef fish call this coral reef home.

04 Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the second most voluminous fresh water lake in the world. Located in Siberia, Russia, the lake has an average depth of 2,442 ft and contains roughly 20% of the world’s surface fresh water. At 25 million years old and with a depth of 2442ft makes this lake the oldest and deepest lake in the world.

05 The Great Barrier Reef

The only living thing that can be seen from outer space that is larger than the Great Wall of China is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world. Located in Australia, this reef system is composed of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands making it 1,600 miles in length. The overall structure of the reef is composed of billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. Along with the ocean, the reef creates a habitat that supports a great diversity of sea life, some of which are endangered. Because of the vast beauty of the Reef, people find it very appealing to visit thus bringing many tourist dollars to the area, which help to put in place protective measures to hopefully protect this valuable wonder for many generations to come.

 

06 The Deep Sea Vents

Deep Sea Vents otherwise known as hypothermal vents, are fissures along the ocean floor that release superheated water from below the Earth’s crust. The hot water is saturated with dissolved minerals from the crust, mostly sulfides, which crystallize to create a chimney-like enclosure around each vent. When the superheated water in the vent reaches the frigid ocean water, many minerals are released, creating the distinctive black color. The metal sulfides that are deposited can become massive sulfide ore deposits in time. The Deep Sea vents were first discovered in 1977 near the Galápagos Islands by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are found to exist in both the Pacific and Atlanta Ocean at an average of 2100 meters deep.

 

07 The Belize Barrier Reef

The second largest reef system in the world is the Belize Barrier Reef. Located on the coast of Belize, this reef is considered to be one of the best spots in the world to dive and snorkel. It is over 186 miles long and is part of the larger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System that stretches from Cancun all the way to the Honduras, for a total of 560 miles. Only 10% of this reef has actually been researched and documented.

 

Facts : Top 10 World’s Largest Lakes

10. Great Slave Lake

Great Slave Lake is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada (after Great Bear Lake), the deepest lake in North America at 614 metres (336 fathoms; 2,010 ft), and the ninth-largest lake in the world. It is 480 km (300 mi) long and 19 to 109 km (12 to 68 mi) wide. It covers an area of 27,200 km2 (10,502 sq mi) in the southern part of the territory. Its given volume ranges from 1,070 km3 (260 cu mi) to 1,580 km3 (380 cu mi) and up to 2,088 km3 (501 cu mi) making it the 10th or 12th largest.
Countries with shoreline — Canada
Area — 28,930 km2 (11,170 sq mi)
Length — 480 km (300 mi)
Maximum depth — 614 m (2,014 ft)
Water volume — 2,090 km3 (500 cu mi)

Great Slave Lake is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada (after Great Bear Lake), the deepest lake in North America at 614 metres (336 fathoms; 2,010 ft), and the ninth-largest lake in the world. It is 480 km (300 mi) long and 19 to 109 km (12 to 68 mi) wide. It covers an area of 27,200 km2 (10,502 sq mi) in the southern part of the territory. Its given volume ranges from 1,070 km3 (260 cu mi) to 1,580 km3 (380 cu mi) and up to 2,088 km3 (501 cu mi) making it the 10th or 12th largest.

The lake shares its name with the Slavey First Nations. Towns situated on the lake include: Yellowknife, Hay River, Behchoko, Fort Resolution, Lutselk’e, Hay River Reserve, Dettah and N’Dilo. The only community in the East Arm is Lutselk’e, a hamlet of about 350 people, largely Chipewyan Aboriginals of the Dene Nation and the now abandoned winter camp/Hudson’s Bay Company post, Fort Reliance. 09 more lakes after the break…
Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa, or Lago Niassa in Mozambique), is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The third largest and second deepest lake in Africa, it is also the ninth largest in the world. It is reportedly the habitat of more species of fish than any other body of freshwater, including more than 1000 species of cichlids, and was officially declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique on June 10, 2011.
Countries with shoreline —  Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi
Area — 30,044 km2 (11,600 sq mi)
Length — 579 km (360 mi)
Maximum depth — 706 m (2,316 ft)
Water volume — 8,400 km3 (2,000 cu mi)
Lake Malawi  is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The third largest and second deepest lake in Africa, it is also the ninth largest in the world. It is reportedly the habitat of more species of fish than any other body of freshwater, including more than 1000 species of cichlids, and was officially declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique on June 10, 2011.
08. Great Bear Lake
Great Bear Lake is the largest lake entirely within Canada (Lake Superior and Lake Huron straddling the Canada-US border are larger), the fourth largest in North America, and the eighth largest in the world. The lake is in the Northwest Territories and is situated on the Arctic Circle between 65 and 67 degrees of northern latitude and between 118 and 123 degrees western longitude, 186 m (610 ft) above sea level. The name is believed to have originated with the First Nations living along the northern shores of the lake, who referred to themselves by Chipewyan words meaning “grizzly bear water people.” Grizzly Bear Mountain on the shore of the Lake comes from the Chipewyan, meaning, literally “bear large hill.”
Countries with shoreline — Canada
Area — 31,080 km2 (12,000 sq mi)
Length — 373 km (232 mi)
Maximum depth — 446 m (1,463 ft)
Water volume — 2,236 km3 (536 cu mi)
Great Bear Lake is the largest lake entirely within Canada (Lake Superior and Lake Huron straddling the Canada-US border are larger), the fourth largest in North America, and the eighth largest in the world. The lake is in the Northwest Territories and is situated on the Arctic Circle between 65 and 67 degrees of northern latitude and between 118 and 123 degrees western longitude, 186 m (610 ft) above sea level. The name is believed to have originated with the First Nations living along the northern shores of the lake, who referred to themselves by Chipewyan words meaning “grizzly bear water people.” Grizzly Bear Mountain on the shore of the Lake comes from the Chipewyan, meaning, literally “bear large hill.”
07. Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water, and at 1,642 m (5,387 ft), the deepest.It is also among the clearest of all lakes, and thought to be the world's oldest lake at 25 million years.
Countries with shoreline — Russia
Area — 31,500 km2 (12,200 sq mi)
Length — 636 km (395 mi)
Maximum depth — 1,637 m (5,371 ft)
Water volume — 23,600 km3 (5,700 cu mi)
Lake Baikal is a rift lake in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between the Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast.
Lake Baikal is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water, and at 1,642 m (5,387 ft), the deepest.It is also among the clearest of all lakes, and thought to be the world’s oldest lake at 25 million years.

Similar to Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi). Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world[10] and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern side of Lake Baikal, rearing goats, camels, cattle and sheep, where the regional average temperatures vary from a minimum of -19 °C (-2 °F) in winter to maximum of 14 °C (57 °F) in summer. Lake Baikal is nicknamed “Older sister of Sister Lakes (Lake Khövsgöl and Lake Baikal)”.

06. Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, in both cases, after only Lake Baikal in Siberia; it is also the world's longest freshwater lake. The lake is divided among four countries – Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia, with Tanzania (46%) and the DRC (40%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.
Countries with shoreline — Burundi, Tanzania,  Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Area — 32,893 km2 (12,700 sq mi)
Length — 676 km (420 mi)
Maximum depth — 1,470 m (4,820 ft)
Water volume — 18,900 km3 (4,500 cu mi)
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, in both cases, after only Lake Baikal in Siberia; it is also the world’s longest freshwater lake. The lake is divided among four countries – Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia, with Tanzania (46%) and the DRC (40%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.
05. Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U.S. and Canada. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron (and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia). To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the wide Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart; the two are technically a single lake. Lake Michigan is bounded, from west to east, by the U.S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The word "Michigan" originally referred to the lake itself, and is believed to come from the Ojibwa word mishigami meaning "great water".
Countries with shoreline — United States
Area — 58,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi)
Length — 494 km (307 mi)
Maximum depth — 281 m (922 ft)
Water volume — 4,900 km3 (1,200 cu mi)
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U.S. and Canada. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron (and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia). To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the wide Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart; the two are technically a single lake. Lake Michigan is bounded, from west to east, by the U.S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The word “Michigan” originally referred to the lake itself, and is believed to come from the Ojibwa word mishigami meaning “great water”.
04. Lake Huron
Lake Huron (French: Lac Huron) is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the easterly portion of Lake Michigan–Huron, having the same surface elevation as its westerly counterpart, to which it is connected by the wide Straits of Mackinac. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States. The name of the lake is derived from early French explorers who named it for the Huron people inhabiting the region. The huronian glaciation was named due to evidence collected from Lake Huron region.
Countries with shoreline — Canada, United States
Area — 59,600 km2 (23,000 sq mi)
Length — 332 km (206 mi)
Maximum depth — 229 m (751 ft)
Water volume — 3,540 km3 (850 cu mi)
Lake Huron (French: Lac Huron) is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the easterly portion of Lake Michigan–Huron, having the same surface elevation as its westerly counterpart, to which it is connected by the wide Straits of Mackinac. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States. The name of the lake is derived from early French explorers who named it for the Huron people inhabiting the region. The huronian glaciation was named due to evidence collected from Lake Huron region.
03. Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake.
Countries with shoreline — Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania
Area — 69,485 km2 (26,828 sq mi)
Length — 322 km (200 mi)
Maximum depth — 84 m (276 ft)
Water volume — 2,750 km3 (660 cu mi)

Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake.

With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. Lake Victoria is the world’s 2nd largest freshwater lake by surface area; only Lake Superior in North America is larger. In terms of its volume, Lake Victoria is the world’s ninth largest continental lake, and it contains about 2,750 cubic kilometers (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water.

Lake Victoria receives its water primarily from direct precipitation and thousands of small streams. The largest stream flowing into this lake is the Kagera River, the mouth of which lies on the lake’s western shore. Two rivers leave the lake, the White Nile (known as the “Victoria Nile” as it leaves the lake), flows out at Jinja, Uganda on the lake’s north shore, and the Katonga River flows out at Lukaya on the western shore connecting the lake to Lake George.

Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in Africa and has a maximum depth of 84 m (276 ft) and an average depth of 40 m (130 ft).[3] Its catchment area covers 184,000 square kilometers (71,040 sq mi). The lake has a shoreline of 4,828 km (3,000 mi), with islands constituting 3.7% of this length, and is divided among three countries: Kenya (6% or 4,100 km2 or 1,600 sq mi), Uganda (45% or 31,000 km2 or 12,000 sq mi) and Tanzania (49% or 33,700 km2 or 13,000 sq mi).

02. Lake Superior
Lake Superior (French: Lac Supérieur) is the largest of the five traditionally demarcated Great Lakes of North America. The lake is bounded by Ontario and Minnesota to the north and west, and Wisconsin and Michigan to the south. It is generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is the world's third-largest freshwater lake by volume.
Countries with shoreline — Canada, United States
Area — 82,414 km2 (31,820 sq mi)
Length — 616 km (383 mi)
Maximum depth — 406 m (1,332 ft)
Water volume — 12,100 km3 (2,900 cu mi)
Lake Superior (French: Lac Supérieur) is the largest of the five traditionally demarcated Great Lakes of North America. The lake is bounded by Ontario and Minnesota to the north and west, and Wisconsin and Michigan to the south. It is generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is the world’s third-largest freshwater lake by volume.
The Caspian Sea is often regarded as the world’s largest lake, but it contains an oceanic basin (contiguous with the world ocean until 11 million years ago) rather than being entirely over continental crust
01. Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 (143,200 sq mi) (not including Garabogazköl Aylagy) and a volume of 78,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi). It is in an endorheic basin (it has no outflows) and is bounded to the northwest by Russia, to the west by Azerbaijan, to the south by Iran, to the southeast by Turkmenistan, and to the northeast by Kazakhstan.
Countries with shoreline — Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran
Area — 371,000 km2 (143,000 sq mi)
Length — 1,199 km (745 mi)
Maximum depth — 1,025 m (3,363 ft)
Water volume — 78,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi)

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 (143,200 sq mi) (not including Garabogazköl Aylagy) and a volume of 78,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi). It is in an endorheic basin (it has no outflows) and is bounded to the northwest by Russia, to the west by Azerbaijan, to the south by Iran, to the southeast by Turkmenistan, and to the northeast by Kazakhstan.

The ancient inhabitants of its coast perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean, probably because of its saltiness and seeming boundlessness. It has a salinity of approximately 1.2%, about a third the salinity of most seawater.