Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Foreword: Out of White

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pp. xi-xii

The most charismatic of the great cats may have seen me in the wild, but I have not seen it, nor do I ever expect to. All my snow leopard paintings . . .

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xvi

The idea for Snow Leopard: Stories from the Roof of the World came from reading Marc Bekoff and Clara Blessley Lowe’s Listening to Cougar, an anthology . . .

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xviii

After reading Listening to Cougar by Marc Bekoff and Clara Blessley Lowe, I immediately envisioned a similar collection on the snow leopard, written mostly . . .

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Introduction: Giving Voice to the Snow Leopard

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pp. 1-11

High in the lofty peaks of central Asia, a rare, elusive cat sits curled on a rocky ledge overlooking a deep, rugged valley. A cold wind wisps frozen snow . . .

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1. On Meeting a Snow Leopard

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pp. 13-20

Whenever I walk through the Bronx Zoo, I like to halt in front of the snow leopards. Their luxuriant smoke-gray coats sprinkled with black rosettes convey . . .

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2. Face-to-Face with Shan

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pp. 21-24

She had been on a kill for the past two days. Though partially obscured by thick brush, we could see her feeding. On the dawning of the third day, crawling . . .

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3. Tracks of My Soul

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pp. 25-31

One of my earliest memories, from when I was maybe three or four years old, is of my father, Lubomir, singing a lullaby he had written for me. At that time we . . .

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4. Kashmir

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pp. 33-43

I read a travel guidebook on India that said it did not matter if the traveler was on the ground or in the air, the visitor’s first view of Kashmir would be . . .

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5. From Rice Fields to Snowfields

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pp. 45-50

There was a low rumble from the opposite mountain. We rushed out to see the stream turn into a gray, turbid, frothy mass. The sound grew to a . . .

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6. Death of a Bharal

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pp. 51-61

Fly north from Delhi and within an hour you’ll be above the peaks of the Indian Himalaya. You’ll look down in dread and wonder how an animal can . . .

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7. An Accord of Hope

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pp. 63-68

I began my career as a language teacher in the northern province of Mongolia called Khuvsgul, never imagining that someday I would become deeply . . .

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8. Tears of the Karakorum

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pp. 69-74

August 1982. I left camp at dawn, awed by the morning sun reflecting off the snowy white peaks of the Karakorum range that engulfed me. Cool, crisp . . .

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9. The Pelt Smuggler

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pp. 75-82

It was the winter of 1999. My assistant, Ghulam Mohammad (GM), and I had just completed our first in a series of surveys in northern Pakistan’s Baltistan . . .

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10. Two Snow Leopards, My Father, and Me

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pp. 83-87

Whenever people talk about snow leopards, I can’t help but think back to my childhood, to the story of my father and the two snow leopards he killed with . . .

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11. Happy Days

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pp. 89-94

As a kid growing up in Novokuznetsk, Siberia, whenever I got sick my mother would tell me that if I concentrated on the happy days of my life, good health . . .

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12. Raising Sheru

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pp. 95-102

From my study, the knock at my door sounded faint, tentative. Usually, those who come to my home after office hours are disturbed— angry about . . .

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13. Cubs

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pp. 103-111

For nearly two decades I have been exceedingly privileged to have been able to make a living doing something most people can only dream of—studying . . .

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14. Epiphany

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pp. 113-119

Here I stand, in the middle of a small photo booth somewhere in the streets of Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan; in my hands is the culmination of two . . .

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15. Pangje

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pp. 121-128

October 24, 2004. Dawn gradually approached as we gathered field gear to leave for our next camp in Phorche, a small Nepali village en route to the Everest base . . .

Color Photos

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16. November 13

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pp. 129-133

The last fortnight has been clear and warm, day after day, but early this morning there were wisps of cloud, which could mean a change in weather. On these . . .

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17. Winter at Chörten Nyima

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pp. 135-139

In today’s world, Chörten Nyima (Sun Shrine) lies at the place where the borders of Sikkim, Nepal, and Tibet come together. But the known history of this major . . .

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18. The Spirit of Baga Bogd

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pp. 141-150

I had no way of knowing, when I received the gift of a jaguar head carved from greenstone, just how potent a force lived within that small talisman. He was given . . .

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19. Gobi Magic

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pp. 151-163

Each journey to the unknown begins by leaving the known. The familiar. The comfortable. Such thoughts filled my mind as I worked through my checklist for . . .

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20. Legends of Zanskar

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pp. 165-170

Once upon a time, there were three friends: a snow leopard, an otter, and a house cat. One fine day, after playing among themselves, they decided to partake of a special . . .

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21. Magic Valley

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pp. 171-174

They had lived in the valley for a thousand years. They knew what life had been like before they had come to this isolated region because the Old Ones had told . . .

Organizations and Related Websites

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pp. 175-177

Further Reading

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pp. 179-179

Biographical Notes

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pp. 181-188

Illustration Credits

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pp. 189-190