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Coffee and Snow Leopards in Bed!

It’s not often that I wake up on a Sunday to news that some of my work has been published across my home country but that is what happened to me today.

The crisp white linen of our bed is a far cry from the four layers of bedding I slept under for 17 days in -25C in Ladakh, but I found myself longing for those camped out nights, listening to the calls of snow leopards echoing around the hills above us.  Thanks to Adrian Fowler and his team at Diimex in Sydney and the wonderful journalism work of Tim Barlass, the images I shot of a wild snow leopard hunt during our trip with Wild Images in March were syndicated across this weekend’s Australian newspapers.  Starting with the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, the story even spread as far as Mandurah!

As someone who would rather be behind the lens than in front of it and who would prefer their work to speak for them rather than their looks, the sudden burst of publicity surrounding these images has been revelatory and a little overwhelming.  So many people seem beguiled by my old male cat, the cat we tracked for three full days in Ladakh, the cat who stole my heart with his love rebuttals, failed hunts, scenting and stalking.  Of all the Snow Leopards we met on our trip, he was far and away my most favourite cat, his gnarly, scarred appearance casting a permanent look of disappointment across his face.

I wonder what he is doing now.  Where he might be?  I hope he is hiding out in a high den somewhere, helping to rear the next generation of Snow Leopards alongside the female we saw him mating with.  Although she was courting two males during our trip, she also appeared to have a soft spot for this old boy.  It was the old boy she spent the most time with, the old boy she always sought out first.

Mark bought me coffee as I sifted through the many emails, comments, shares, likes and texts that I received in the wake of these photos going live across Australia.  I felt humbled.

When I left Ladakh in March, my boot clad feet may have departed from the world of these leopards, but a part of my heart never did.

Thank you for sharing my journey with these incredible wild cats.

– Inger

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