Ever Seen A Snow Leopard In Real Life Before? We Doubt It.
Known as the “Grey Ghost” and the “Ghost of the Mountain”, the snow leopard is famous for its ability to blend in to its surrounding environment. Snow leopard camouflage, in fact, is so legendary that a photo recently drew thousands of comments from astounded readers.
The photo itself immediately reminded me of the famous scene from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Sean Penn’s photographer character, cool and elusive, finally finds the Ghost Cat that he’s been seeking. Ben Stiller’s character, Walter, has travelled continents to get some answers. In a moment of presence and connection, the photographer allows him to see the snow leopard from behind the camera. It’s one of the most touching scenes of the entire film.
In the end, Sean Penn’s character doesn’t end up taking the picture. He says that he doesn’t want the photograph to take him away from the moment. Such is the magical nature of the snow leopard camouflage.
A photographer named Saurabh Desai recently captured an image that baffled thousands (maybe millions – who knows?) on the internet. It certainly baffled me, and I needed to skip to the spoiler just to even see this elusive cat.
Can you spot the snow leopard?
Where Do Snow Leopards Live?
You’ll find snow leopards in very selective areas. They live in high alpine areas, mostly above the tree line, and up to 18,000 feet in elevation.
They’re only found in 12 countries. Among the countries lucky enough to be home to this incredible beast are China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Mongolia.
Because they live in such harsh and remote environments, the snow leopard is graceful, cunning, and tough. They’re only found high in the mountains of the Himalayas and in Central Asia. Because of this, it’s hard to know much about them.
Their elusive nature only contributes to the mystery and marvel that surrounds this magical beast. On top of that, climate change seems to be shrinking the habitat that’s available to them.
Are Snow Leopards Endangered?
Snow leopards are in a bit of trouble, but they were taken off of the endangered species list in 2017. They’re listed as vulnerable, which is one step below endangered. With an estimate of around 4,000 remaining in the world, the snow leopard’s population numbers are decreasing, which means the cat continues to face a high risk of going extinct.
Humans, as you can image, are the main risk to the snow leopard. They’re threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and (this one is brutal) retaliatory killing when they eat livestock from farms.
As more humans move into the snow leopard’s terrain, the homes, farms, factories, and infrastructure invade the natural environment of the world’s most mysterious big cat. When trees are cut down, their shelter is eliminated. Can you blame them for occasionally snacking on some livestock?
With so many dangers facing the snow leopard, they need your help. You can go here to adopt a snow leopard, and contribute to their conservation.
These Pictures Prove Snow Leopards Are The Ultimate Masters Of Disguise
Ok, so if you didn’t catch the snow leopard in the image above…
…and you really want to know where the heck that cat is, check this out:
Once you see it, it’s hard to understand how you didn’t see it before. That’s part of the magic of this mystical animal.
Still can’t see it? Here you go.
Now, check out these poor, unsuspecting sheep!
This is a tough one!