It was dark, and cold. Under cover of night, F61, an adult female mountain lion currently followed by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project, padded softly back to her kill. Drew Rush, on assignment for National Geographic’s article “Ghost Cats” had visited while she was away, and set up a motion-triggered camera to photograph her upon her return.
After a quick examination of the camera, F61 inspected her kill. It was an elk, and she had carefully covered it in snow to minimize its chances of detection from competitors.
Yesterday, you got a glimpse inside a traditional (and colorful) Indian homestay – a kind of temporary housing that supports tourism in India’s small villages by putting a roof over the heads of eco-tourists (like Snow Leopard Program Executive Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy), and helps offset the cost of homestay owners’ livestock losses caused by snow leopards. Watch Tom’s interesting interview with a local homestay owner to learn how operating a homestay allows one woman to provide for her children and how she feels about hunting snow leopards.
Today, we want to take you inside a traditional Indian homestay to show you where Dr. Tom McCarthy stayed during his research trip to Rumbak Village. See the colorful tea pots and furniture that adorns one homestay and learn about how this Himalayan homestay project is operated for tourists, particularly eco-tourists like Tom, using numerous houses throughout the village. Also get a glimpse at a parabolic heater provided to the village’s homestays and cafes that allows villagers to heat their food and water without using a good deal of their local fuels.
We begin this week’s “Trekking with Tom” posts with an up close look at a predator proof corral in India’s Rumbak Village. Listen to Tom explain how these corrals are made, and how something as simple as mesh wiring prevents snow leopards from getting into enclosures. Local villagers who predator-proof their corrals, are finding it easier to live with snow leopards. Which benefits everyone, including the snow leopard!
Learn more about our snow leopard conservation program at http://www.panthera.org/programs/snow-leopard/snow-leopard-program.
Our last “Trekking with Tom” video of the week shows the impressive mountains surrounding India’s Rumbak Village (one of the first stops on Tom’s snow leopard research trip through India) and the stunning valley that cradles this community. See how people live, and where snow leopards roam, in an area that reaches an altitude of just over 13,000 feet!
We hope you have enjoyed the first week of our “Trekking with Tom” blog posts. This was our first video blog and we’d love for you to tell us what you think of the series, so far, on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/pantheracats.
Protecting the Livestock and Livelihoods of India's Villagers from the “Trekking with Tom” Blog Series
So far, we have brought you stories and video interviews from Snow Leopard Program Exec. Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy’s research trip to Tajikistan, where he spent several weeks this summer working to build Panthera’s relationships with local conservation organizations and communities and gather data to help shape Panthera’s snow leopard conservation strategies in the region. After travelling through several remote villages in Tajikistan’s Pamir Mountains, Tom ventured to Ladakh and then Leh, India before heading into the remote Rumbak Village to carry out more research on villagers attitudes towards and interactions with snow leopards.
For our third “Trekking with Tom” blog post, we wanted to share a short video of a group of men sharing a typical meal in Tajikistan. The meal takes place in a beautifully adorned room involving four men eating, talking, having tea….and trying on hats, of course! Take a peek at this video to learn about traditional Tajik dress, including fashionable hats known as toqis, and the elaborate rugs and wall hangings that make up this home’s colorful décor.
Yesterday, we introduced the “Trekking with Tom” blog series that will be used over the coming weeks to share photos, videos and tales from Dr. Tom McCarthy, Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program Executive Director’s, research trip through Tajikistan and India this summer. On the second day of the journey, we bring you Tom’s fascinating interview with a local herder who has lived in a remote village in Tajikistan for 76 years and whose father was the number one hunter in the region (over tea, of course). Watch this short interview to learn about one Tajikistan man’s rules for hunting and to hear stories about the relationships his family has had with snow leopards - their “hunting brothers.”
This summer, Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy, spent one month travelling through Tajikistan and India – 2 of the 12 snow leopard range states – to gather ecological data on the regions’ snow leopard populations, build Panthera’s partnerships with local conservation organizations and local communities, and identify the key threats currently facing snow leopards as part of Panthera’s range-wide snow leopard conservation program. Tom documented his journey with a high-definition Flip video camera and digital camera, in order to bring you, our supporters, along into the field and share some of the work we are doing to protect snow leopards.