Increasing livestock and overgrazing
One of the major threats to snow leopards is increasing livestock and overgrazing.
These impact prey species and sometimes lead to retaliatory or protective killing of snow leopards.
Although human population density in the snow leopard’s ecosystems is relatively low, its habitats are heavily used by people whose livelihoods depend on traditional pastoralism and agro-pastoralism. With growing human populations and rising global demand for cashmere, livestock herds—goat herds in particular—have greatly increased in size.
The resulting overgrazing leads to degradation of pastureland and wildlife habitats and serious soil erosion. Competition for food with large and growing domestic livestock populations reduces wild prey numbers, which already live at relatively low densities due to the low productivity of the habitat.