Young Snow Leopard Bares Its Teeth at Camera in Wonderful Candid Photo

Snarling Snow Leopard by Sascha Fonseca

When we last caught up with wildlife photographer Sascha Fonseca, he was photographing a Siberian tiger in the snow. Now he's back with a rare glimpse at a snow leopard, an animal that is notoriously difficult to spot in the wild. Thanks to his use of camera traps, Fonseca can capture imagery of elusive animals and, in this particular image, how they interact with his equipment. In it, we see a young snow leopard snarling directly into the camera's lens, most likely reacting to the sound of its shutter.

The photo was taken in the remote mountains of Ladakh, India. Ladakh, which sits near the borders of Pakistan and China, has a population of 200 to 300 snow leopards. These big cats thrive in steep, rocky terrains and, because of this, are not often seen by humans. Unfortunately, their remote habitat hasn't left them unscathed by humans. In fact, we are their biggest predators. Hunting, habitat loss, and prey species reduction all make the snow leopard vulnerable.

Through his imagery, Fonseca hopes to connect humans with wildlife in a way that leads to understanding and, therefore, conservation. His images of snow leopards, including this fiesty youngster, were part of a three-year project in Ladakh and his success in photographing them is the fruit of hard work. So how did he know the best places to set his camera trap?

“Like in all of my projects, I started with a lot of research,” he tells My Modern Met. “The more you understand your subject and its environment, the better you can narrow down potential areas for a camera trap set up to start with in these vast landscapes. But nothing replaced getting the input of local people who know the lay of the land and where the animals walk, mark territories, and live their lives.”

Currently, Fonseca is still working on his project to document the Siberian tiger in Far East Russia, which is keeping him on his toes. “Setting up DSLR camera traps in this vast wilderness is probably my most challenging project so far,” he admits, and adds, “Stay tuned.”

Sascha Fonseca photographed a young snow leopard who was fascinated by the camera.


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A post shared by Sascha Fonseca (@sascha.fonseca)

He used camera traps to document these elusive animals as part of a three-year project in Ladakh, India.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sascha Fonseca (@sascha.fonseca)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sascha Fonseca (@sascha.fonseca)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sascha Fonseca (@sascha.fonseca)

Sascha Fonseca: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photo by Sascha Fonseca.

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There’s a Snow Leopard Expertly Camouflaged in This Photo But Can You Spot It?

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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