The reclassification was announced this week by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) after a 3-year survey showed great improvements in their population.
Thanks to improved tracking techniques, such as camera traps and satellite imagery, conservations can now follow the animal’s movements and patterns across Asia. The most recent study estimated that there were between 4,000 and 10,000 mature snow leopards in the wild today.
In order to be listed as endangered, the species must have less than 2,500 mature adults in the wild and their numbers must be in steep decline.
While the reclassification is cause for celebration, conservationists are still keeping a close eye on the population. Researchers currently believe that the recorded amount of snow leopard deaths have been due to farmers protecting livestock, but because of how difficult it is to get exact population counts, they remain wary of poaching dangers.
The IUCN credits the rebound to anti-poaching measures taken by Central Asian communities and the establishment of more protected wildlife zones across 12 countries.