This incredible set of photographs is, to my knowledge, the first snow leopard kill to be documented on camera.
These images were taken by Adam Riley deep in the Himalayas in the Hemis National Park while hosting a snow leopard tour through the area.
Known as the “gray ghost of the Himalayas,” the snow leopard remains extremely rare to see. In the Hemis, only an estimated 50-60 individuals still live in the wild, making the park an important genetic reserve for this species.
The photos below are a remarkable record, expertly captured in the midst of what must have been an exciting moment for Adam. Here’s what happened:
Many people have tried and failed to even glimpse a snow leopard in the wild. Historically it was almost impossible, requiring months of endurance and and camping in harsh conditions. Peter Matthiessen, in his famous book Snow Leopard describes how he spent two months searching for the cat but ultimately failed to find a single animal.
Today it is easier to access the isolated habitat of the snow leopard, but still remains a challenge to find them due to shrinking numbers in the wild. These pics are an exciting record of a rare creature, but also a careful reminder of how important it is to conserve the last of the species still existing out there in the frozen Himalayas.
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Paul Steyn is a widely-published multi-media content producer from South Africa, and regular contributor to National Geographic News and blogs. Having guided throughout Africa for some years, he went on to edit a prominent travel and wildlife magazine, and now focuses on nature storytelling in all its forms. In 2013, he joined a team of researchers and Bayei on a 250km transect of the Okavango Delta on traditional mokoros. In 2016, he accompanied the Great Elephant Census team in Tanzania and broke the groundbreaking results on National Geographic News . Contact: email@example.com
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