High Altitudes

Wild carnivores and people

Understanding human response towards snow leopards and wolves

What is it about?

Carnivores can be considered as umbrella species that indicate the health of an ecosystem. From the conservation perspective, they often act as ‘flagships’ or surrogates for the landscapes they inhabit. The predominant narrative focussing on human-carnivore relationships is one of conflict as encounters with carnivores can have serious economic and psychological repercussions. However, not all interactions with carnivores are negative. My research is an attempt to complement our understanding of conflict with an understanding of tolerance. I am especially interested in exploring how people and carnivores coexist, and the role of religious and cultural beliefs in influencing this dynamic.  

Which species?

Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and wolves (Canis lupus) co-occur in the Trans-Himalayan landscape. However, research shows that people have very different relationships with the two species, the former being better accepted than the latter. The reasons for this are unclear although studies indicate that cultural stereotypes and varying economic impacts have a role to play. 


In the cold arid deserts of Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) - surprisingly colourful, and elegantly stark in their beauty.