Snow Leopard toby jug produced in China by Raymond Waites of New York City, New York, circa 2000. The snow leopard, also known as the ounce, is a species of large cat in the genus Panthera of the family Felidae. The species is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia and its global population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. It inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations of 9,800-14,800 feet, ranging from eastern Afghanistan, the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau to southern Siberia, Mongolia and western China. In the northern part of its range, it also lives at lower elevations. The snow leopard's tail curls up to form the handle of the jug.