Tashi Ghale and his team employed his award-winning camera-trapping techniques to conduct a census of predators and prey, as well as employ a team of observers to calculate the population in blocks. Ghale reckons there are approximately 2,200 blue sheep in Manang alone. Snow leopards are studied most intensively in Nepal and there are signs cat numbers are increasing in some pockets despite the threats.
Besides snow leopards, Ghale’s camera traps have led him to discover new and lost Himalayan species like the Pallas Cat and the Himalayan Grey Wolf of which there are said to be only 50 remaining in Nepal. In fact, the Pallas Cat has been renamed Tashi Cat to honour his discovery. Ghale founded the Third Pole Conservancy and has contributed to the Destination Manang eco-tourism campaign.
Tashi Ghale’s father had taught him to fear the panje, which would often kill livestock and leave paw prints near the family home. Today, rather than fear the animal, Ghale is in awe of them.
He teaches secondary students in Manang to set up camera traps and recognise snow leopard droppings. He says: “Just like we have distinctive fingerprints, snow leopards have individual spots. Recognising individual snow leopards is the first step in co-existing with them.”