Amazing Encounter Between Family And Snow LeopardPosted on February 7th 2019
Since the beginning of time the people of Ladakh which is aregion in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir have co-existed peacefully withnature. In fact, the people who live in this part of the world worship theirenvironment which is unsurprising given their Buddhist heritage places a lot ofimportance on non-violence making hunting a non-starter for many people wholive there. In contrast to the rest of mainland India where encounters betweenhumans and wildlife end up in killing, Ladakh’s residents rarely tolerate thiskind of action.
Home to snow leopards
This means it should come as no surprise that Ladakh is hometo many endangered species including snow leopards who live at an altitude ofbetween 3000 to 5000 metres above sea level. The number of snow leopardencounters is extremely rare largely as a result of increasing tourism and theimpact of global warming. WWF estimates there are between 450 to 500 snowleopards in India though the numbers that roam Ladakh are not known. The stategovernment intends to conduct a census which will seek to map out the specieshabitat to improve long term conservation of the species.
Helping farmers deal with snow leopards
Despite the culture there are occasions where tensionsbetween snow leopards and humans occur. As a predator sheep and goat make easyprey and farmers often retaliate by beating the offending cat to death. Farmersand their families in Ladakh depend on their livestock and loss of animals hasa major impact. This means the first step is to ensure livestock is secured bycovering barn with wire mesh and installing barbed wire which does go a longway to solving the vast majority of the problem.
Protecting endangered species
In 2011 a video was shot of a unique encounter between asnow leopard and locals which delivers a strong message about protectingendangered species. On a cold November night, the local dogs began barkingoutside a local family home. The house had no electricity and in almostcomplete darkness one member of the family woke up and decided to go outsideand try and silence the barking dogs. As the man opened his kitchen door thesnow leopard inside pounced.
A near miss
Fortunately, the snow leopard missed and in the confusionthe man was able to slam the door and escape unscathed. However, when he lookedback inside the kitchen, he was terrified to see a snow leopard with itscharacteristic spots and long tail sitting pretty inside. Neighbours laterjoined the family and everyone remained calm, deciding to contact police andwildlife officials to help them deal with their guest.
If you watch the 15-minute-long video you will see a unique encounter between a snow leopard, locals and wildlife officials as the big cat moves around the kitchen. Officials first tranquillise the snow leopard and after the big cat is sedated, they release it back into its natural habitat. In keeping with the region’s culture, locals were happy that no hard came either to them or to the snow leopard and everything ended peacefully.