Snow leopard in snowy landscape © / Reinhard / ARCO / WWF

Snow leopard in snowy landscape © / Reinhard / ARCO / WWF

Snow Leopard - a poem by David Waterhouse

20 Oct 2021


David Waterhouse shares a poem with us about the elusive and rare snow leopard. David has been supporting WWF’s work for over 60 years and he’s decided to continue that support through a Gift in his Will. A natural storyteller and field naturalist, David has been writing about his experiences in nature since he was a young boy.  


Snow leopard on rocky mountains © Klein & Hubert / WWF

Marmots wake from wintry dreams, beside torrential ice-melt steams. 

And wind-blown purple gentians grow in swathes amid sun-spangled snow. 
Mash lies below and swarming midges, above loom towering, lofty ridges. 
The rocky heights where ibex go, and wild wind spumes the powered snow. 

A steadied ‘scope in thick-gloved hands, reveals the distant wild sheep bands.  
And near them lurks a thick-furred beast, intent upon an ovine feast. 
Excited whispers, ‘There he goes!’ that long tailed king of screes and snows. 
Crouched stock-still when horned heads raise, inching near when bent to graze. 
The ashen form draws ever nearer, death intention ever clearer. 
One stone dislodged, one icy crunch, enough to spook the watchful bunch. 
At length he makes his bounding streak, a terror to argali sheep. 
Now standing tall among his breed, he kills to state a nagging need. 

But deadlier hunters roam these hills, braving gales and biting chills. 
Men stalk sheep and mountain goats and sell their meat for rouble notes. 
And leopard pelts in great demand, grace many a squalid market stand.  
So sad, that few will really care, if leopards are no longer there. 

David’s story is a very special one - not many can say they have been with us from the very start. Read his full account here In at the Start: A lifetime of support. Or learn more about Gifts in Wills to WWF.  

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