What’s the difference between a snow leopard and a snow lion?

Painting of snow lion

Painting of snow lion

It’s easy to get a little confused with snow lions and snow leopards. But snow lions are a mythical animal, they don’t exist. They are represented in Tibetan buddhism as the supporter and protector of the Buddha. In fact, Tibet’s national flag has a snow lion on it. You’ll see snow lions in Tibetan paintings and sculpture – they’re usually jolly looking, painted white with blue or green manes (see pic here.)

Snow leopards on the other hand are real animals – they are rare and endangered and live in one of the most extreme landscapes on earth – in the Himalayas at over 3000 metres (16,000 feet). They have been hunted and killed for their beautiful fur and because they occassionally kill  goats and sheep belonging to villagers in the area. But lots of conservation work is now being done to protect the snow leopard and we hope it will survive in the wild for many years to come.


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