On July 30th, the University Press of Colorado published a new book entitled Snow Leopard: Stories from the Roof of the World, featuring contributions from Panthera’s Vice President, Dr. George Schaller, and Panthera’s Snow Leopard Executive Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy, based on their decades of snow leopard conservation research. Written and edited by Don Hunter, this book includes first-hand accounts from some of the world’s leading snow leopard biologists and adventurers, providing a rare glimpse into the lives of the world’s most elusive wild cat and those who have dedicated their lives to conserving this species.
Overview of Snow Leopard: Stories from the Roof of the World
“Just recently, we once again traveled the high roads of snow leopard country, enjoying the beauty of Ladakh’s iconic monasteries and watching blue sheep graze steep mountainsides. We saw no snow leopards but sensed their presence, feeling lucky and thrilled to be under the distant gaze of this magnificent cat. May you experience a similar feeling as you read about the snow leopard in this remarkable collection.” —From the foreword.
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.
Contributors include Ali Abutalip Dahashof, Som B. Ale, Avaantseren Bayarjargal, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Joseph L. Fox, Helen Freeman, Darla Hillard, Don Hunter, Shafqat Hussain, Rodney Jackson, Jan E. Janecka, Mitchell Kelly, Ashiq Ahmad Khan, Nasier A. Kitchloo, Evgeniy P. Kashkarov, Peter Matthiessen, Kyle McCarthy, Tom McCarthy, George B. Schaller, and Rinchen Wangchuk.
Don Hunter was drawn into the snow leopard’s world more than twenty years ago while working as a research ecologist with the US Department of the Interior. His experience with snow leopards in central Asia led to similar studies of mountain lions in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. He still works on behalf of big cats worldwide as science director for the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy (catconservancy.org).
More information on the Contributors
Known as one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation, Dr. Schaller has worked in collaboration with Chinese and Tibetan scientists for nearly two decades to study and develop conservation initiatives for the snow leopard, and other wildlife. Several of Dr. Schaller’s books, including A Naturalist and Other Beasts: Tales from a Life in the Field, Stones of Silence: Journeys in the Himalaya and Tibet's Hidden Wilderness: Wildlife and Nomads of the Chang Tang Reserve, have featured stories and research on the snow leopard.
Watch this Indianapolis Prize video on Dr. Schaller’s snow leopard conservation work.
Starting in 1992, Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program Executive Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy, worked under the guidance of Dr. Schaller in Mongolia, where he took over the management of a long-term ecological snow leopard study. Through this project, Dr. McCarthy became the first biologist to use satellite radio-collars on snow leopards, and in collaboration with the Snow Leopard Trust, Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Schaller recently chose another snow leopard research site within Mongolia, continuing the first ever long-term intensive study of this wild cat. During his conservation career, Dr. McCarthy has established snow leopard conservation projects in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. In addition, his personal efforts have catalyzed national snow leopard conservation plans in Mongolia and Pakistan, and he has contributed to similar efforts in Bhutan, India and Uzbekistan. Along with his work on a GPS-collaring program in Pakistan, Dr. McCarthy leads two new Panthera initiatives. The first is a range-wide assessment of snow leopard genetics that seeks to identify movement corridors which are critical to maintaining the health and genetic diversity of the species. The second is a revision of methods by which snow leopard populations can be monitored over time, including such novel non-invasive approaches as fecal genetics, camera trapping and statistical modeling based on sign surveys.
Coming full circle, Dr. McCarthy’s son, Dr. Kyle McCarthy, is also a contributor to the book. Kyle received his doctorate in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Conservation at the University of Delaware. His Master’s degree focused on Evaluating snow leopard populations in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan and China. He has also studied snow leopards in Mongolia
The book chapters written by Dr. Schaller, Dr. Tom McCarthy and Dr. Kyle McCarthy are entitled ‘On Meeting a Snow Leopard,’ ‘Cubs,’ and ‘Epiphany.’
Learn more about this book through the University Press of Colorado website.
Learn more about the snow leopard.
Read about Panthera’s Snow Leopard Conservation Program.