Sascha Fonseca, a wildlife photographer, was capturing a Siberian tiger in the snow when we last spoke with him. He has returned with a rare sighting of a snow leopard, a creature that is notoriously challenging to see in the wild. Fonseca can photograph secretive animals and, in this specific picture, show how they interact with his equipment thanks to the usage of camera traps. In it, a baby snow leopard can be seen growling right into the lens of the camera, probably in response to the sound of the shutter.
The picture was captured in Ladakh, India’s isolated mountains. There are 200 to 300 snow leopards living in Ladakh, which is close to the Chinese and Pakistani borders. Due to their preference for rocky, steep terrain, these huge cats are rarely observed by people. Unfortunately, despite being in an isolated area, humanity have nevertheless impacted them. We are actually their main predators. The vulnerability of the snow leopard is a result of hunting, habitat degradation, and a decline in prey species.
Fonseca wants to make a connection between people and nature through his images that will promote comprehension and, therefore, conservation. His three-year project in Ladakh included photos of snow leopards, including this feisty youngster, and his success in capturing such shots is the result of hard work. How did he determine where to place his camera trap?
He tells My Modern Met, “Like in all of my work, I started with a lot of study. The more you know about your subject and its surroundings, the easier it will be to limit down probable locations in these broad expanses for the initial placement of a camera trap. However, nothing could take the place of consulting locals who are familiar with the area and where the animals graze, mark territories, and go about their daily lives.
Fonseca’s endeavor to photograph the Siberian tiger in Far Eastern Russia is still ongoing, and it keeps him busy. He acknowledges that setting up DSLR camera traps in this wide wilderness is perhaps his most difficult undertaking to date and ends by saying, “Stay tuned.”
A baby snow leopard that was mesmerized by the camera was captured by Sascha Fonseca.