Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Saturday, 20 February 2010

It's Snow Leopard Week

It's Snow Leopard Week, but quiet please! Unlike most big cats, snow leopards can't roar and their thick-furred, wide, padded feet don't make a noise either so they can't announce their presence. Combine this with their shy, secretive natures, perfect camouflage and you can see why they're difficult to spot.

Doesn't help that snow leopards tend to live at high altitudes, usually 3000+ metres above sea level and favour mountain ranges in Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, China, Mongolia and Russia. Snow leopards are territorial, but territories can overlap as they are not particularly aggressive at defending territories.

They are pefect hunters for their preferred prey of wild sheep and goats. They have also been know to hunt wild pigs, tahrs, Bactrian camels, gazelles, ibex and even marmots, with birds and hares if other prey is scarce. The rocky mountainsides and outcrops provide cover and the snow leopard's fur with its grey or black rosettes against a base colour of pale grey or a smoky yellow, gives it excellent camouflage. Their wide paws help them stalk and give chase over snow. Their long tails, almost the same lenght as their bodies, help them balance. Snow leopards wrap their tails around their body when they sleep to help keep them warm.

Each snow leopard has a unique pattern of rosettes on their fur. Their stocky bodies and small round ears help minimise heat loss.

The snow leopard mating season is usually between January and mid-March with cubs being born in June or July. Litters are usually two to three cubs and the cubs will eat their first solid food at around two months. Cubs will stay with their mother for nearly two years before leaving to find their own territories. Siblings will sometimes stay together to start with but will separate.

Snow leopards are sadly endangered. It's estimated there are around 3500 - 7000 in the wild. As with most big cats, the biggest threats are the illegal fur trade and loss of habitat/prey. It takes six to twelve snow leopard skins to make a coat and body parts, including bones, are sometimes used in traditional Asian medicine. Loss of prey is down to a combination of people encroaching on traditional snow leopard territories and over-grazing by domestic herds which leaves less food for wild grazing animals so numbers become restricted. This leaves the snow leopard with little choice but to take domestic animals so herdsmen kill snow leopards in retribution.

Although all of the countries that have snow leopards have cat protection laws, the laws are not rigorously upheld and illegal poachers often find the weaknesses in local law enforcement.

Snow leopards generally live for up to 10 years in the wild.


  1. Great post- and what a beauiful animal-I think this really will tug at the heart strings and the fact that it's endangered is makes it all the more poignant. This is what Gentle Footprints is all about.

    Looking forward to reading more.


  2. I agree with Debz - it is a very beautiful animal. It's hard to imagine why anyone would think a Snow Leopard's coat would look better on a human than on its original owner.
    I saw a documentary on them a few years ago and was fascinated. Can't wait to read more.


  3. Stick around: there'll be an extract from the story later in the week.