Snow Leopard tracking in the Himalayas

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made between November - March
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Snow Leopard tracking in the Himalayas

Environment

It is important to be aware of the fragility of the Himalayan ecosystem, by traveling with a zoologist as well as local guides, the impact on the environment is a minimum. As many things are recycled as possible and we make sure that all signs of our camp are taken back with us to the town and disposed of responsibly.
All the entrance fees paid to the Hemis National Park authorities and the camera trap permits go into direct conservation efforts throughout Ladakh and help to fund rangers and wardens to protect the wildlife against poachers. Since the park has reopened to tourists the decline in poaching has been dramatic and we hope to help maintain this decline until poaching here is a thing of the distant past.
Every person booking on this tour will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack which will outline the doís and doníts when on the tour, these guidelines help to increase your chances of seeing wildlife as well as protecting the environment and conserving the area for future generations. All these points are common sense and by following them will increase the enjoyment of the entire tour.
At the end of each we offset our carbon footprint (based on the number of tours we have completed and the number of passengers we have taken with us), with the Carbon Trust.

Wildlife Promise:

The wildlife is of course of the upmost importance to us on this tour and all other tours run by us. All pictures and videos which we take of wild snow leopards are handed over to the Snow Leopard Conservancy for their on going studies. This helps to keep tabs on the individuals in the area and further understand the behaviour of the species; as the snow leopard is still far from understood completely, every sighting is invaluable to conservation and research efforts. We also actively campaign against poaching and the illegal fur trade worldwide; we are also keen to report any abuse of the environment or wildlife that we see to the local authorities.

Community

The local community benefits directly from this tour in many ways. The most obvious being that the porters, pony-men, snow leopard trackers, cooks and camp assistants are all local people who are handsomely paid for their tireless work. This as made guiding a genuine career prospect which has helped to keep the current generation of men in the villages (as opposed to the migration out of the mountains and into the towns and cities). The other major impact is that when staying at the homestays in Rumbak or Ullay, this is run by the Snow Leopard Conservancy; the money from the homestay is split to fund many projects in the village as well as some being given direct the host families. Some of the more important projects which are funded are solar powered water heaters, better corrals for their livestock at night (to avoid snow leopard and Tibetan wolf predation) and training of snow leopard guides and trackers.
All our guests are encouraged to embrace and understand Buddhism and the daily lives of the local people, we find that this is the best way for the local ethos and culture to embed itself into foreigners and as a result the awareness of the area and its people becomes more ingrained in the mindset of tourists.

Reviews of Snow Leopard tracking in the Himalayas

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 11 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Actually being able to watch snow leopards in the wild - the main aim of the trip. We spent nearly 50 hours watching interaction between several different cats including hunting and mating.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you have good telescope, binoculars and camera lenses. Even if you don't see snow leopards, they are needed for the birdlife. Suggest getting a solar powered charger for electrical equipment - they don't weigh much and work really well. Have a care if you suffer from vertigo - you will be climbing up the side of mountains and walking along narrow trails in order to get good vantage points!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The tour employed local people during the "non tourist season", encouraged their interest in the ecology of the area, particularly the snow leopards, and tried to ensure no litter was left in the national park - any bottles or rubbish spotted was picked up. Our guide (who works for the wildlife department) was keen to increase the fees and also limit the numbers of people coming into the park in an effort to protect the environment. I believe that something should be done in the way of improving toilet facilities at the camp to prevent seepage into the water system rather than just digging pits and then filling them in.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent - I consider myself very privileged to have seen not only these big cats in their natural habitat but also the other flora and fauna in Hemis. The camp staff were great and really looked after us and I would recommend the Shanti Home Hotel in Delhi to anybody.

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