Poems and paintings of the Princess of Snow

March 18, 2010

Karma Wangchuk in mountains of Bhutan, a keen conservationist, teacher, poet and artist.

Karma Wangchuk from Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan “Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon” sent me some beautiful paintings and poems about snow leopards.

Karma teaches English at the College of Education in Paro, one of Bhutan’s main towns. He’s a keen nature lover and loves cooking, trekking, travelling, drama, dance, gardening and music. He has contributed paintings for the book “The Mammals of Bhutan.”

I was really impressed with Karma’s enthusiasm for his country’s environment and the endangered snow leopards there. As a teacher I’m sure he’ll be able to have a powerful influence over the way his country’s younger generation respond to wildlife like snow leopards in the coming years.

Karma’s interest in snow leopards was inspired by George Schaller’s very first pictures of snow leopard in the wild in the National Geographic magazine and like many of us, reading that wonderful book by Peter Matthiessen “The Snow Leopard”.

Karma's beautiful painting of a snow leopard. He travelled to India many times to see snow leopards in a Zoo there to do this lovely work.

As he’s never seen a snow leopard in the wild in Bhutan (neither have most people), Karma went all the way to a zoo in northern India, eight times, to see the snow leopard he’s painted in these lovely works. True dedication.

Bhutan (and the world) needs people like Karma!

The Emblem of Bhutan, tiny kingdom in the Himalayas and home to snow leopards

Karma’s Poems
I am a leopard of the snow
When the summer is high my spots glow.
Beware! It is a fatal force.
I am as silent as spirit
And as swift as the wind,
I am ever watching you
Though you do not see me,
You try to trace me
But I cannot be,
I live a lofty life
Where the snow meet the space
And where cold is second death.
I am the leopard of the snow
And when you steal my glow
You humans!
It will perhaps be my last glow.

——-

Higher! Higher still
Than the tricky towering peaks,
Challenging the prowess
Of this awe-inspiring denizen;
In the land of Yeti,
With its jagged rocks
And abyss of death.
Vast, virgin snow
Numbly awaiting gloom
In its unseen clutch.
But the spirit sneaks up undeterred,
Nonchalant stare, shunning vertigo,
Humbling every pass and peak.

Rejoice in this feline face!
Pass the tidings of its regal grace!
Always there and always aware,
Princess of snow,
Princess less known
To this dreary world of restless souls.

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Indian kids camping out in tents and learning about their mountain environment

February 21, 2010

Kids in Spiti, northern India, learning about their Himalayan environment with Snow Leopard Trust and Nature Conservation Foundation India program. Photo Snow Leopard Trust Blog.

Every year the Snow Leopard Trust and the Nature Conservation Foundation India take high school kids on learning camps in the Spiti Valley of the Himalayas. The kids, who rarely do this sort of thing, get to live in tents and learn about the plants and animals (including snow leopards), which share their environment. The Trust has been doing this since 2007 and over 400 school children and 30 teachers have participated.

Read more about their experiences and comments from the kids on the Snow Leopard Trust blog.


“My grandmother says”….a story of snow leopards

January 13, 2010

"My grandma says" childrens book about snow leopards.A few years ago after I returned from a trek in the Mustang region of western Nepal with a wonderful guide, Binod Rana, he introduced me to his brother, Dipak. Dipak was doing community work and fundraising for a school in a village in the Langtang region and I wondered what I could do to help. One afternoon I went to that fabulous Kathmandu institution, Pilgrim’s Bookstore in Thamel…boy can I spend time and money there!

Anyway I found a beautiful book called “My grandmother says” about a young girl looking after wild snow leopards and helping to educate her friends about snow leopards in Nepal. This lovely little book was produced with the help of the Snow Leopard Conservancy and published in English and Nepali. I had a great idea. I bought a hundred copies and gave them to the village school. Dipak told me the kids loved them.

It turns out the Snow Leopard Conservancy has now produced another edition in English, Chinese and Tibetan. It would make a beautiful gift for any young child. The drawings are lovely and the story an inspiring one about young people and caring for their environment. If you have some young children in your life or are a teacher they would be an enjoyable read and a learninge experience. You can purchase the book from the Conservancy here.