Leh Ladakh in November December 2010 Trip Report

To mammal afficionados, the Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) is among the most desirable creatures to experience in the wild. Although we are primarily birders, Stig and I had shared that sentiment for years, often saying to each others: “We must do something about that cat soon!”. But the chances of success had seemed slim enough that time and again, we had postponed the quest. We know quite a few people who had tried for it in vain in Central Asia. Nicknamed “the grey ghost”, Snow Leopards are notoriously difficult to see, even in winter when they descend a bit from their high altitude summer haunts, following their prey. The appearance of a trip report by Kokay Szabolcs (see http://kokay.hu/ladakheng.htm) in late 2009 instilled in us the hope that a Snow Leopard expedition would not necessarily be fruitless and gave us the impression that Ladakh might well be the most promising destination for it. Consequently, in early January 2010, we contacted our old friends at Wild World India (Vikram Singh and Gaurav Jain), asking them to investigate and come back to us with suggestions and recommendations for a Snow Leopard quest in the autumn of 2010. And thus the plans for this successful trip were born…. Based on current knowledge, we believe it is fair to state that Hemis National Park in Ladakh is probably the best place in the World to see a Snow Leopard in the wild. Chances are good and the place is fairly easily accessible. We warmly recommend the services of Wild World India (https://wildworldindia.com/ – contact them at wwi@wildworldindia.com); they are friendly and reliable, offering excellent value for money, and the Snow Leopard quest came at a very reasonable price. Using a Delhi based travel agency may not be necessary, but we feel it is a very good idea, particularly if you want to combine your Snow Leopard quest with other activities like we did. Since we knew that we were in for quite a challenging trip under rather primitive conditions at high altitude, we hand-picked the other trip participants in the hope that we could thus minimize the risk of skirmish. In the end, our all-Danish team consisted of Kate Andersen, Lene Hansen, Morten Heegaard, Erling Krabbe, Jon Lehmberg and Eric Schaumburg in addition to ourselves (Stig Jensen and Ulrik Andersen). We would like to thank everybody for contributing to a wonderful and completely trouble-free trip. This trip report is mainly devoted to our Snow Leopard quest, but we include information about our pre- and post-quest trips to areas near Delhi (Sultanpur National Park, Basai Wetlands and Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary, as well as the Chambal River). We can be contacted at sejcuf@yahoo.dk (Stig) or andersen_ulrik@yahoo.dk (Ulrik).

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By ue8z5j / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on Jul 25, 2016

Wild World India strives to stimulate an interest and help develop an understanding of the rich natural heritage of the Indian subcontinent. We believe in working closely with our identified network of local naturalists and guides, the ‘insiders’ who have the knowledge to make your wildlife experience both exciting and enriching.

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