White panther

White panther

Although leopards are famous for their distinctive yellow color and black spots, there are some that are brown in color with darker spots. This is the white panther, a vulnerable and little-studied species that humans rarely see.

To learn more about this curious animal, I suggest you keep reading. We will tell what is the white panther, what is its biology and its distribution and some curiosities.

What is white panther?

White panther
White panther

When we talk about the white leopard, we are talking about a carnivorous mammal of the cat family. It is situated in the remote mountains of Central Asia. , Normally we can find this precious animal at an altitude of six thousand meters above sea level. Therefore, it is a very difficult species to observe and study.

It has very dense, soft and brown colored fur which helps it to survive in the low temperatures of its habitat. The white panther’s tail is exceptionally long and is often wrapped around its body for warmth. This predator is used to hunting during the day and its prey includes all types of animals including cattle. On some occasions, farmers go so far as to kill these nearly endangered cats. However, most poachers attempt to kill white panthers for sport or for their fur.

Today it is not known how many specimens of these animals are still in the world. The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates that only about four thousand individuals will survive. The timing of gestation and the number of cubs white panthers usually have also play against them. They require about a hundred days to complete the gestation period and usually have one or two pups per litter, capable of reaching a maximum of five. From the age of two they are considered adults.

What is the name of the snow leopard?

The snow leopard, commonly known as the white leopard, is also known as Irbis. And the scientific name of this species is Panthera unia and it belongs to the family Felidae , like cats. Amazingly, the white panther is named for its colour. While the panther is typically yellow, except for its distinctive black spots, it has colors that range from white to brown. Thanks to its colour, it is easy for it to blend in with nature, as its habitats are usually covered with snow.

white panther biology

Now that we know a little about the white leopard, let’s delve deeper into its biology. It is a predator of great strength, as it is capable of hunting other animals three times its size. In addition, it should be noted that this is the longest jump among all species of cats. In one jump it can reach up to fifteen meters.

Like most species belonging to the family Felidae , the white leopard is a solitary animal, except during the breeding season. During that period, both males and females hunt for larger prey than usual and work together to obtain it. It should also be noted that they are very territorial animals, which is why they are quite aggressive.

Its most common prey is a variety of animals, such as squirrels, goats, rabbits, shrews, marmots, etc. White panther not only hunts but also eats already dead animals. These usually take a long time to decompose due to the low temperature.

Despite what many people believe, white panther attacks on humans are very rare. So much so that only two are known so far. The first happened on July 12, 1940. In the Malomatinsk gorge in Almaty, an Irbis attacked two people who received serious injuries. There was also a second attack near Almaty. This time, a toothless old white panther attacked a passerby but failed, in fact being captured.Assault – Play Funny Games

distribution of white panther

Usually the white leopard lives at an altitude of two thousand to four thousand meters above sea level. In some places, such as the Himalayas, it has been observed at altitudes up to six thousand meters above sea level. Because of this, mating of humans and irbis is rare. Furthermore, their excellent camouflage makes them very difficult to see and study. Thus, the information provided by naturalists is scant.

Although the white panther is not yet endangered, yes, it is considered a vulnerable species. Therefore, a detailed enumeration of living specimens is carried out. Next we will see the estimated population which was in different countries in the year 2017:

  • Afghanistan: Between 100 and 200 copies.
  • Bhutan: Between 100 and 200 specimens.
  • China: between 2.000 and 2.500 copies.
  • India: Between 200 and 600 copies.
  • Kazakhstan: Between 180 and 200 specimens.
  • Kyrgyzstan: Between 150 and 500 samples.
  • Mongolia: Between 500 and 1,000 specimens.
  • Nepal: Between 300 and 500 samples.
  • Pakistan: Between 200 and 420 copies.
  • Tajikistan: Between 190 and 220 samples.
  • Uzbekistan: Between 20 and 50 copies.


The beauty and rarity of this animal make it very popular in popular culture. There is a Soviet mountaineering award called “Snow Leopard”. It was awarded to those who climbed the highest peaks belonging to the Soviet Union: Khan Tengri, Pico Ismail Samani, Pico Lenin and Pico Korzhnevskaya. In 1990, Pico Pobeda on the border with China was also added.

The white panther also appears in Philip Pullman’s “Dark Matters” trilogy. There, the character Lord Asriel has an Irbis as a daemon, as a representation of his soul. We can also find this animal in some movies , for example, “Kung Fu Panda,” where the main villain named Tai Lung is an irby, or “Zootopia,” where a female white panther announces the news. Another feature film where we can appreciate this animal is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. There, a photojournalist named Sean O’Connell, played by Sean Penn, is shown taking pictures of Irbis in Afghanistan.

Even in the world of technology we can find references to the white panther. An example of this is version 10.6 of Mac OS X. The name of this operating system of Apple is “Snow Leopard”. Which means “snow leopard” in English.

Despite the fact that the information available on the white panther is quite scarce, much has been learned about this species. And who knows, maybe some news will come out soon.