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RECAP: Our 2023/24 Snow Leopard Tours in India

An insane season of absolutely amazing sightings across Ladakh!

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Incredible Sightings and Community Involvement

Voygr Expeditions 2023-2024 snow leopard season at the LUNGMĀR Remote Camp has been nothing short of extraordinary. Starting in October, a bit ahead of our official November opening, we hit the ground running with early success. Our initial trips were rewarded with sightings of a mother snow leopard and her two cubs, a pair we continued to spot throughout the year. But that was just the beginning.

Throughout the season, we frequently observed one or more of eight to nine snow leopards within our established tracking areas. Adding to the excitement were sightings of several new snow leopards, reported to us by local villagers and communities from other parts of Ladakh. This surge in activity and expanded sightings is a direct result of our partnership with the High Asia Habitat Fund. Their work in building corrals and mediating human-wildlife conflict has not only benefited the local communities but has also enhanced our snow leopard tracking efforts. Our active involvement in the community has further strengthened these ties and contributed to our success.

This post has several images captured by guests during the season – scroll through to read more and see what our guests saw!

Unparalleled Snow Leopard Encounters

Every guest who joined us this season had the unforgettable experience of seeing a snow leopard. All saw multiple snow leopards, enjoying a range of sightings from distant observations to medium-range encounters. Some were even fortunate enough to see snow leopards up close. A highlight for several groups was witnessing snow leopards on a kill, sometimes for several days in a row. A few particularly lucky groups even saw multiple different snow leopards on various kills during their stay at the camp.

Additionally, our guests witnessed a variety of other fascinating behaviors and sightings. A couple of our groups were lucky enough to see a lynx and her two cubs for two different days at a high pass called Wari la, about an hour’s drive from camp. They observed the lynx engaging in remarkable behavior, including successfully hunting two different hares. Our guests also had the rare opportunity to witness snow leopards mating, as well as observing adolescent to sub-adult snow leopard cubs.

On one occasion, a guest had an amazing encounter with a snow leopard, all by himself. Here’s his account:

“Since I’m not a photographer, I’d go for hikes during the middle of the day. I think that day we had driven to the site of a blue sheep kill but hadn’t seen any leopard yet, so Ismail recommended a trail by a frozen river that went into lynx territory. About an hour in, the leopard came up from the riverbed maybe 150m in front of me and climbed vertically through a set of switchbacks in the trail, then continued up a ridge line. I wasn’t expecting to see anything so I was not remotely ready with a camera, but eventually I got my act together and took some video. Was definitely the closest sighting for me.

Thanks again to you and your team for a wonderful trip!”


Snow Leopard Tracking and Sightings Summary

We love keeping track of snow leopards sighted, where the tracking teams are going as well as where we see certain individuals. Years of this data will probably also help inform new science on these elusive animals.

 Of the 170 days that the camp was open, we had guests in camp on 127 days. Usually tracking teams only actively track while guests are in camp. When we don’t have guests at camp the trackers are usually taking a well-earned rest day and visiting their families. Out of these 127 tracking days, our incredible team was able to find a snow leopard (or two) on 94 days. That means we were able to find a snow leopard on 74% of days we searched for one. An absolutely mind-blowing statistic, given that this is one of the worlds’ most elusive and hard to find cats – and that we’re looking for 8 or needles in the world’s largest haystack!

This is an incredible testament to not only our tracking teams spectacular skills and expertise, but also to the community based conservation that is working wonders in our mountains. In all we had 139 encounters recorded with snow leopards in these 127 tracking days.

 

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Guest Testimonials

Our guests have shared their heartfelt experiences, emphasizing the exceptional service and unforgettable encounters they had at on their snow leopard expedition.

“Just a quick note to say thank you so so much. Your team and all your help has been incredible. Honestly this experience is life changing and the lure of these mountains and your operation here grows with each visit. You have put together something very special and everyone on your team deserves a huge congrats. I am fortunate to visit many many lodges, camps etc but there is just something special about yours!”

Another guest noted, “To the staff – you were TERRIFIC. The kitchen and dining staff – outstanding meals and service. I loved the variety and the quality of the meals and your getting them out to us when we were ‘afield’. The heating staff – thank you for the hot water. SERIOUSLY!! To the porters, drivers, spotters, trackers and guides – we were blessed with what we saw – you got us to the snow leopards, you cared for us, you showed your love of these amazing creatures and how you are trying to protect them.”

Conclusion

The 2023-2024 snow leopard season at Voygr Expeditions has once again been a resounding success. From the abundant sightings and new individual snow leopards to the flawless operation of our expeditions, we have demonstrated once again why we are the premier choice for snow leopard tours. Our partnerships, community involvement, and dedication to safety and excellence ensure that every trip is a memorable and transformative experience for our guests.

Join us next season for an unparalleled journey into the heart of snow leopard territory, and witness the magic of these elusive cats in one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth.

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