Trip report: A Quest for Snow Leopard (March 2012) by Tropical Birding

Report by Scott Watson.

In early 2011, Keith Barnes asked Ken Behrens and me if we would like to embark on a quest to see Snow Leopard, which happened to be one of Keith’s lifelong goals. Without hesitation I agreed, and thus began a year of preparation and anticipation. We were to search for this cat in Feb-March 2012, in winter in the Himalayas of India. Winter, although extremely cold, is the best time of year to search for this notoriously difficult feline, which descends to relatively lower altitudes following their main prey, Himalayan Blue Sheep. By early 2012 we were set. We had teamed up with some of the world’s best Snow Leopard trackers, and we also joined forces with three other keen wildlife enthusiasts from Belgium. Armed with scopes, binoculars, endless dedication, and clean thermal underwear, we were ready to tackle the mountains. Our reasons for doing this are the same as those who climb Mount Everest, sail solo around the world, or dive to the ocean depths; the “after party”. Surely with three professional guides from Tropical Birding our chances of success were high. No? read on to find out…

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