Once a rare sight in Himachal Pradesh’s (India) Spiti valley, snow leopards are now being increasingly spotted along human habitations—giving hope of their increasing numbers. Residents of Hikkim village, situated at an altitude of 14,000 above sea level in Lahaul-Spiti district of the state, are reporting their frequent encounters with the elusive feline near the village and even along the main road.
Two videos of snow leopards captured recently by Hikkim residents have gone viral on social media. In one video, a snow leopard is seen walking along the road, while in another, there are two.
Interestingly, wildlife experts used to lay special trap cameras in the high altitude isolated areas of Spiti valley, far away from villagers, to capture the movement of snow leopards. Now their sightings are not so uncommon along the road close to Kibber wildlife sanctuary.
A family from Hikkim village while moving towards Kaza town in their car came across a snow leopard on the road. Not missing the opportunity the driver captured the animal’s movements in his mobile phone. In the video, the snow leopard can be seen turning back and walking up to the car before sitting down and calmly staring at those inside the vehicle. However, moments later, it gets up and disappeared into the snow-covered valley.
The other video, also taken on the same stretch of road by some villagers heading home from Kaza, shows two snow leopards resting along the road. On seeing the vehicle, one runs away by the other lingers for a while before walking away. (Times of India)