Spiti's snow leopards

The Nature Conservation Foundation has done commendable work over the past two decades to protect the snow leopard in the upper Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, but more efforts from all concerned will be needed to overcome the threats the big cat faces in its range.

A snow leopard. It had been estimated that India could have at the most 600 of these animals, located in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Snow leopards are comfortable even on narrow paths on steep rocky slopes.

A camera trap photograph of a snow leopard in its natural habitat.

A snow leopard pug mark photographed in Gangotri, Uttarakhand, in November 2015.

Kibber village in winter, in the upper Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. It is home to about 80 families.

A fine markhor male in the Chitral Gol National Park, Pakistan.

An adult male Himalyan tahr, one of the ungulate species snow leopards prey on.

An adult male ibex near Chicham bridge. Ibexes and bharals are the primary food of snow leopards in India.

A pair of female ibexes.

An adult male bharal.

A woolly hare. It is one of the animals, besides the bharal, the ibex and other ungulates such as the markhor, the Tibetan gazelle and the argali, that the snow leopard preys on.

A Himalayan marmot. It is one of the animals, besides the bharal, the ibex and other ungulates such as the markhor, the Tibetan gazelle and the argali, that the snow leopard preys on.

A lammergeier, one of the impressive birds of the Himalaya.

A wild yak bull in this rare picture in Upper Kumla, Nepal. Yak calves are vulnerable to snow leopards.

The village of Chichim in summer.

The Shilla Range, the Spiti Valley.

The Berginia ciliata flower on a wet slope.

The thorny Astragalus strobiliferus (hedgehog plant).

The Key Monastry, in all its grandeur.

Women from Kibber pose with the handicrafts they made. The Nature Conservation Foundation has set up training centres in handicraft-making for women in order to promote snow leopard conservation in the upper Spiti Valley.

Charudutt Mishra, founder trustee of the Nature Conservation Foundation and science and conservation director of the Snow Leopard Trust, with colleagues Karma Sonam, Saloni Bhatia and Stanzin Namgail.

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A snow leopard. It had been estimated that India could have at the most 600 of these animals, located in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

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