After several years of searching, photographer Saurabh Desai finally got to capture some amazing photos of the beautiful snow leopard. Can you see it in the photo above? It might take you a while to spot the camouflaged creature, but to give you a hint, the big cat is not white, but brown.
This incredible photo, titled Art of Camouflage, was taken by Desai in the early months of 2019. He began by trekking to the Spiti Valley located high in the Himalayas in North India with a single goal in mind. “I was on my search of the world’s most illusive cat, which is also known as ‘Grey Ghost’ in the popular local language.”
Desai made his way to the valley and near the high-altitude Kibber village, where he came across the magnificent brown snow leopard, which is also called Shan in the local Ladakhi language, about five miles from the locale. “The picture depicts the Snow Leopard trying to get off the cliff, but observing our presence, it decided to wait until it got really dark and it stayed there on the edge.”
It wasn’t easy for Desai spot a snow leopard, but his photograph is a sign of Desai’s patience and perseverance. “I spent almost 3 years in search of this amazing cat, and when I found it up and close to me, I was speechless.”
Despite the years looking for the amazing beast, there were other factors that also played a role making Desai’s photo even more special. He had to take his unique photo at an altitude of 17,000 feet, temperatures that were -30°C and oxygen levels that were at less than 50% than usual.
Desai definitely had a sense of accomplishment after he took his photo seeing that the snow leopard is of special significance to him. He is also currently busy compiling a book about the Ladakh and Spiti valleys of Himalayas, in which the animal plays an important role. “I wanted this animal to be captured the way people have described it, they say that often they don’t see the ‘Shan’ but ‘Shan’ always sees them. I was very [keen] to portray this animal in its own environment, perfectly camouflaged, which is an important skill that helps it in hunting.”