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My kids started calling him “Baliyo Euta”…

My kids started calling him "Baliyo Euta"...

My kids started calling him “Baliyo Euta” – strong one – and rightly so: despite two horribly, gruesomely shattered hind legs – likely from a poacher’s trap – and enduring at least a day in the relentless, baking sun of Mustang, he was still fighting. As our teammate, Birat, carefully propped tree branches above him to block the sun and offer a respite from the heat, he hissed loudly, baring his teeth and pawing at the intrusion. Moments later, he laid back down, exhausted, conserving energy. Later in the day, as the sun shifted, he got up, dragged his mangled body behind another wall and found shade. After 12 hours, officials from ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) arrived; it wasn’t the local head from down in Jomsom – a mere 2 hours away – but rather 2 dedicated PhD candidates working in Lo Manthang. Working well into the night – with a disparate crew of researchers, our film team, and many Chuksang villagers – we managed to get the wounded leopard into a containment cage and carried safely down to the village. Our hope was that the powers that be would make the decision immediately to fly the leopard to Kathmandu for treatment by experts at the Zoo. By late morning the following day, the decision finally came: the snow leopard would not be flown, but rather driven in the back of a jeep down to Jomsom where he would be treated by a vet from the Zoo who would fly in from Kathmandu; once it was healthy, it would then be flown to Kathmandu for further treatment. We still wanted an airlift, but this seemed like a reasonable plan, and we had little leverage in the situation. So, by late afternoon, with excitement and promise, Baliyo Eka was driven out of Chuksang and down valley to Jomsom. We said our goodbyes to the local officials and researchers, and continued our journey north, filled with hope for this beautiful animal’s life. En route to Lo, our hopes were buoyed again when we heard he took in food and fluids. Sadly, 36 hours later, we got the news that the leopard had died in Jomsom. [Please continue reading the story in the comments section.]

Mustang, Nepal

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About the Author : Jake NortonClimber, guide, photographer, speaker, founder of www.Challenge21.com, and - most importantly - husband and father.View all posts by Jake Norton

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