During a Facebook Live event yesterday with Matthias Fiechter and Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi of the Snow Leopard Trust, I learned of a new video from PBS Nature. This excellent, 10-minute film is called Living with Snow Leopards – Tashi’s Story.
Living with Snow Leopards follows Tashi, a local herder, as he cares for his goats and tries to keep warm in the Indian Himalayas. As the film describes Tashi’s story, it also highlights broader aspects of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) conservation and ecology. It touches on the imperiled status of the species, mentions threats such as mining and the loss of wild prey, and discusses the relationships between local herders and the cats.
Living with Snow Leopards makes it clear that villagers and snow leopards do not always get along. As livestock outcompete the cats’ natural prey, snow leopards become more likely to attack domestic animals. When this happens, the end result is often a financial loss for already impoverished people and a dead snow leopard.
Fortunately, groups like the Snow Leopard Trust are working to make it easier for villagers to coexist with snow leopards. By building strong relationships, helping to create livestock insurance schemes, initiating alternative livelihood programs, and more, these groups are benefitting both wildlife and local people. Living with Snow Leopards again uses Tashi to illustrate this point, explaining that he and his neighbors have stopped killing the big cats.
Cinematically speaking, Living with Snow Leopards is also a beautiful film. It features crisp and well-defined shots of the Himalayan landscape, wildlife, Tashi, and other villagers as they go about their days. This makes the film pleasing to watch, and its short duration will not take up much of your time.
Here is PBS Nature’s Living with Snow Leopards – Tashi’s Story. For more information, including the full credits, please visit the video’s website.