First snow leopard sighting in Kashmir in 10 years

“It was the shortest seven minutes of my life” Aishwarya Maheshwari, a researcher with WWF India (a wildlife protection group) said after making the first confirmed sighting of a snow leopard in Kashmir in over 10 years. The region has seen a decade of political conflict and fighting between India and its neighbor, Pakistan.

Maheshwari and his three field assistants were observing a herd of Asiatic Ibex (a type of mountain goat) almost 4000m above sea level in the mountains of Kashmir, northern India when they saw pug marks and scat of what looked like a carnivore.

Suddenly there was a cloud of dust and through their binoculars they spotted a snow leopard chasing the Ibex who were running in all directions. The researchers were able to watch the cat for 7 minutes before it ran away.
This is good news for Maheshwari and his WWF India team who are doing a baseline wildlife study of the area.

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2 Responses to First snow leopard sighting in Kashmir in 10 years

  1. Uddalak Das says:

    i am a wildlife enthusiast and a teacher by profession. i have been trying to trail the snow leopard in uttarakhand, himachal and sikkim. my next trip is scheduled for ladakh. when do you thin is the most opportune time to spot the animals around hemis national park. i have about 21 days to spare for a vacation.

  2. Sibylle says:

    Hi
    of course it is very hard to see snow leopards in the wild. They are very shy and ellusive (which is just as well as people have been trying to capture or kill them for many years.)

    As far as I know in Hemis national park in Ladakh it has been possible to see snow leopards during the winter months. Rodney Jackson from the Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC) is doing work there each winter and they have had sightings. Check their website at http://www.snowleopardconservancy.org.

    The SLC also has field trips to the region where volunteers can do conservation work with Rodney and his team. Info on this is also on the SLC website and Karma Quest website who are arranging the tour.
    See http://www.karmaquests.com/winterquest2010.htm

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