“The snow leopard might well serve as a symbol of man’s commitment to the future of the mountain world.”
“Stones of Silence – Journeys in the Himalaya” George Schaller, 1979.
“Will Pakistan’s mountains soon be deprived of snow leopard as the plains have already lost lion, tiger and cheetah? Legally all hunting is prohibited, as is the sale of pelts, but it is difficult to enforce laws in remote mountain tracts. Besides, snow leopard do prey on livestock, something a villager cannot be expected to tolerate unless he receives compensation.
In conservation both idealism and realism must be served. Because of all these problems it is too easy to leave the snow leopard to its fate. It survived the icy rigors of the Pleisctocene, when many other species vanished from our earth and it has so far survived the onslaught of man on its mountain realm. But I know the Chitral Gol does not feel its soft tread anymore and many other valleys too are deprived of its presence.
Imagine the peaks without the snow leopard. Though the cats can perhaps survive in zoos as relics of a better past it is a sad compromise. The mountains gave man soil, provided him with food and stored his water but he has taken almost everything, leaving the earth’s bones bare.” George Schaller, 1979.
George Schaller has spent decades as a field biologist studying snow leopards in many parts of Asia.
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