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Snow Leopard

Stories from the Roof of the World

Edited by Don Hunter

Publication Year: 2012

Like no other large cat, the snow leopard evokes a sense of myth and mysticism, strength and spirit shrouded in a snowy veil, seldom seen but always present. Giving a voice to the snow leopard, this collection of powerful first person accounts from an impressive cadre of scientist-adventurers grants readers a rare glimpse of this elusive cat and the remarkable lives of those personally connected to its future. These Stories from the Roof of the World resonate with adventure, danger, discovery, and most importantly hope for this magnificent big cat.

Very little has been written about this mystical creature. Its remote and rugged habitat among the mightiest collection of mountains on Earth, proclaimed “The Roof of the World” by awe-struck explorers, make it one of the most difficult and expensive animals to study. After a millennia thriving in peaceful isolation, human encroachment, poaching and climate change threaten the snow leopards survival. Speaking on behalf of the snow leopard, these heart-felt stories will inform and inspire readers, creating the vital connection needed to move people toward action in saving this magnificent cat.

Published by: University Press of Colorado

Title Page, Copyright

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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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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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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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p. 179-179

Biographical Notes

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pp. 181-188

Illustration Credits

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pp. 189-190

E-ISBN-13: 9781607322054
E-ISBN-10: 1607322056
Print-ISBN-13: 9781607321934
Print-ISBN-10: 1607321939

Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 10 B&W photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012