Skiiers have a surprise encounter with a rare snow leopard in India


A group of five skiiers had an unexpected encounter while skiing on the slopes of Gulmarg in India's northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, when they came across a crouching snow leopard.

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“OK – so the story is we skied our first powder line and the guide in yellow almost ran over the leopard," Australian skiier Own Lansbury wrote in his Facebook post. Lansbury, who was filming the skiing expedition, posted the video on Facebook.

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After a minute of their surprise encounter, the snow leopard bounded towards the American tour guide Dave Marchi of the travel agency Bill's Trips, before running downhill into the forest.

“I stopped just as it huddled in the snow, where it stayed for about a minute checking us out," Lansbury wrote on Facebook. "It then let out a solid roar and bounded away down the slope towards Dave, but scooted off into the forest, where we think it probably had a kill stashed. Pretty amazing experience!”

Snow leopards are high-altitude big cats and an endangered species. They face threats from increasing temperatures caused by climate change, habitat loss and poaching. The Indian Himalayas are estimated to have around 500 of the 4,000 snow leopards left.