Photographer Inger Vandyke followed a group of snow leopards around the Indian Himalayas for 17 days. The Australian was part of a group of photographers who braved sub-zero temperatures to follow the elusive cats. Snow leopards are incredibly hard to track in the wild as they are very well camouflaged and incredibly stealthy. Ms Vandyke described her trip as the best experience of her life, despite the intense cold and harsh conditions.
These are the amazing scenes where a wildlife photographer managed to capture images of an elusive snow leopard hunting bharal blue sheep in the Indian Himalayas.
Inger Vandyke, from Australia was on a 17-day trek in the mountains as part of the expedition to try and take photographs of snow leopards in the wild.
She went on the trip along with British expert Mark Beaman and a team of local guides to see if they could find the incredibly rare animals.
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Can you spot the snow leopard? Scroll down to see a photograph revealing its hiding spot
Ms Vandyke said: ‘Mark and I were out in the field for the duration of 17 days without a shower and in the same clothes that we started in. On one watch for leopards, one of our Ladakhi friends bought us a liter bottle of water to drink at 1pm. By 2:30 p.m., in the broad sunlight, that water had completely frozen over.
‘Snow leopards camouflage themselves so well in their landscape that they can turn their back on you and literally disappear into their landscape.
‘When I look back at my photographs I often wonder how many we might have walked past in the field and simply didn’t see them.’
Ms Vandyke told GrindTV that without the assistance of locals in Ladakhi, herself and her travelling companion would never have been able to see the snow leopards.
She said the animals simply disappeared from view if you lost sight of them for a split second.
She said: The Ladakhis are incredible in this way. Some of spotted snow leopards, then tried to point them out to us and it took us several minutes to train our vision to see them.
‘Even in the “camouflaged leopard” photograph you see in my images, we had followed that leopard so we knew where he was, but each time we took our cameras away from our faces to have a rest from carrying a heavy lens, we would try to locate him again to take a photo and it would take us a minute or more to try and find him again as he hid behind a rock.’
Ms Vandyke said despite the snow leopard’s stealthy skills he was unable to catch the sheep.
‘Seven out of eight snow leopard hunts fail and we tried desperately to sit and hide so we wouldn’t interrupt his hunt. We wanted him to be successful so he could enjoy some food. That encounter was, and will probably always be, one of the the most incredible experiences I’ve had with a wild animal in my life. I was shaking at the end of it. Of course, this was partly because I was cold from sitting for hours in the ice while all this transpired, but I was also shaking because I couldn’t believe what we had just witnessed.’
Did you spot the snow leopards? If not, here they are circled below
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