It been quite a few years i am leading groups of wildlife photographers and enthusiasts in search of one of the most elusive cat found in the Indian Himalayas, The Snow Leopard.
Each occasion me and my group was blessed with the sighting of this majestic creature ruling the high altitude ridges of the mighty Himalayan mountains. Snow Leopard being elusive, rare and so camouflaging that tracking one and seeing one is the most exciting thing and a dream come true for most of the wildlife photographers and enthusiasts.
In all these expeditions I saw footprints and marks of another magnificent predator which survive in those high altitude mountains, a Tibetan Wolf.
Tibetan Wolves generally live in small pack of 3 to 6 and are extremely skillful and agile hunters. The Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus chanco) is a subspecies of the gray wolf that is found in northern India in the Ladakh region of eastern Kashmir, and the Lahaul and Spiti region in the northeastern part of Himachal Pradesh. It is also found in Nepal and China.
These are known to be more elusive than a snow leopard as these wolves keeps moving from one area to another in search of prey. They cover large distances so tracking them is next to impossible. One needs to be very luck and fortunate to see them. And for me the moment finally arrived during my snow leopard expedition batch to Ladakh in Feb 2018.
After witnessing some amazing action of a mother leopard with its 2 cubs, me and my grp checked out and we started our drive towards Leh. Just before we started I concluded my brief to the group with – Never say its over !! Himalayan Mountains are full of surprises and i was proved to be right by the mountain gods ..
While driving I noticed some magpies flying around at one spot just by the side of the road down in the small gorge. I saw something moving from a good distance and driver said its a dog. When i checked from my binoculars, I couldn’t believe… they were Wolves, Tibetan Wolves, 3 of them.
We park the vehicles at a good distance and could really go closer to observe what they were doing. On a close inspection, found that they were feeding on something. It looked like a sheep. Huge Male finished of its part and started moving away. Female was still busy keeping magpies away from her part of the kill. There was one light brown morph one who ran with his part of the kill and decided to feed in an isolated spot behind the small hill.
I was amazed to see the huge size of these amazing predators up close and i was feeling blessed to witness these Nomads of the Himalayan Slopes … at last !!
This wolf is an amazing creature and is considered endangered because of poaching with is illegally hunting an animal. Poaching has killed over 33 percent of the population. This wolf also is one of the few animals that mate for life like people because in each pack only the alpha male and alpha female are aloud to mate up until the new alpha male is selected then the cycle repeats. God has created thee creatures with a thick durable coat to protect them in the winter and is one of the smallest wolves but can grow to a size of 58 to 65 inches. the Tibetan wolf lives in Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, China, Manchuria, and parts of India and Nepal but loves to hide and live in the mountains of each of these which is why it is uncommon to see them in civil areas.
These animals can reach up to 40 mph. and more importantly it threatens the Ladakhi and Tibetan life stalk population and has reduced the population at about 60 percent. Due to this there is a lot of human wolf conflict situations where wolves are killed by herders and villagers to protect their life stalk.
For High Resolution Images – https://www.sagargosavi.photography/index/G0000GF.prKl64Ro