I’ve just received tragic news from the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust that their Director, Rinchen Wangchuk has passed away. Rinchen this week received an Award for Outstanding Achievements in Community-Based Snow Leopard Conservation from the Snow Leopard Conservancy U.S.
Sadly he had been suffering from a motor neuron disease for some time. He leaves behind his wife and two young children.
I’ve been aware of Rinchen’s ground breaking work with local communities for some time but never had the chance to meet him. On my recent trek in Ladakh’s Hemis National Park I met many of his friends and colleagues who spoke about his passion for educating the people of Ladakh to live in harmony with the snow leopards in this spectacularly beautiful part of the Himalayas. During that trek I was able to spend 8 hours watching a beautiful snow leopard and I know this was largely possible due to Rinchen’s dedication to changing the attitudes of local herders so they value the cats .
My sincere condolences go to Rinchen’s family, his friends and colleagues. I know he will never be forgotten. His vision and his work live on.