Conservation

The ghost who stalks

Print edition : August 23, 2013

The snow leopard, the mysterious cat of the high mountains. The image was captured using a camera trap. Photo: by special arrangement

Walking along a snow-covered ridgeline in peak winter. The big cat is adapted fully to the low-oxygen, harsh environment. Photo: dsfsf

An ideal snow leopard habitat is a good mixture of lush green meadows and rugged cliffs and ridgelines. While the meadows support wild ungulates and livestock, the mountains provide the cat sufficient cover for hunting and movement. Photo: dfsd

The Himalayan Blue Sheep, or the bharal, the primary prey of the snow leopard. Photo: Charudutt Mishra

A typical flehmen response by a snow leopard. Photo: by special arrangement

A snow leopard surveys the landscape early in the morning, as captured by an automatic motion sensor camera. Photo: sdfsd

A typical village in Spiti with its traditional houses. A crop of barley, the local people's staple food, is in the foreground. Photo: hjhgjg

Two local youth assist the research team to set up camera traps on a ridgeline. Photo: sd

The "mountain ghost". Photo: sas wddsad wsd

A snow leopard caught on camera. Repeated photo-captures by camera traps spread across a large area give an idea of the home range of individual snow leopards. Photo: by special arrangement

The rugged mountain landscape. For ages, people have struggled to eke out a living in this cold, low-productivity, desert environment. Photo: dfdsfd

A typical snow leopard territory with a rivulet and mountain peaks. The green slopes of the mountains are the feeding ground of ungulates such as the blue sheep and the ibex. Photo: sdfds

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