Post written in collaboration with the team at the Nature Conservation Foundation
On 21 May, Endangered Species Day, StoryWeaver, in association with the Nature Conservation Foundation, is proud to present a new book for children on the most elusive cat in the world: the snow leopard.
Our Encounter With a Snow Leopard is based on a real-life story written by writer Lobzang Le, who grew up in a remote village in Ladakh. One day when she takes her family’s livestock for grazing, she and her little brother come face to face with the elusive mountain cat - the snow leopard.
In this blogpost, we speak to Lobzang, the author, and Tanushree Roy Paul, the artist who brought the story to life.
Conversation with Sherab Lobzang, the author
Sherab Lobzang grew up in Kumdok village in eastern Ladakh. It is a remote hamlet in Rong valley, approximately 110 km away from Leh. She did her Masters in Political Science from Jammu University. Since her childhood, she was attracted to wildlife owing to her agro-pastoral family. She joined the Nature Conservation Foundation in November 2016. She looks after education related activities in the landscape and fieldwork. Lobzang enjoys her work as she believes wildlife conservation is essential for the communities.
Tell us about why you chose to write about the mountains and the snow leopard? What has been your inspiration behind the same?
I like the trans-Himalayan landscape and I love to explore these regions during my fieldwork. This is the reason I choose to write about it. My childhood experience connects a lot with my present work in conservation, which inspired me to write this story.
My friends in my team helped me and motivated me to write this story. Special thanks to Munib, Ajay and Dorjay because they motivated me to write this. The idea of having this story in StoryWeaver was suggested by my colleague Shweta and Jignasa who work with the communications team of NCF
What is the message that you hope to share through these stories?
I just want children to be aware and be amazed by a landscape that lies on the fringe of India. Not many people know about the way of life of the people of Ladakh.
Conversation with the illustrator, Tanushree Roy Paul
Tanushree Roy Paul is a Masters of Design graduate in Animation and Visual Studies from IDC, IIT Bombay. As a young artist, she created Illustrations for poetry of social protests and revolution and worked on sequential stories. She continued her visual arts journey by serving as an illustrator, graphic storyteller, photographer and animator to clients like Eklavya Publications, Resha by Medhavini, Farzidarzi, Ekamkaaya, Leafbird Foundation, TBS planet and Pratilipi, to name a few. She had served as an avid academician for the past 4 years guiding the young creatives in the field of Animation and Design and is currently administering her multifaceted art and design studio: The Kairos Pictures.
What did you like most about doing artwork for this book?
I believe I am one of those foot soldiers whose work had been mostly on and about documenting through visual tools, the biodiversity, ecosystems, the life around us in general. Being an academician, it has always been on my radar to educate the young thinkers and creators on environmental issues. Hence, it was obvious for me to work on this book.
What is special about drawing snow leopards?
What wowed me about this project was an opportunity to highlight an endangered majestic being and the book being a part of its conservation drive. Personally, I got a chance to know about the hardships of life at an altitude where these Phantoms of the Himalayas survive and thrive. In simple terms, the research process while developing the book had been thrilling.
How connected are you with nature? Were you able to draw inspiration from your connection with nature into the book?
According to my observation, I have witnessed artists or creative folks in general have a propensity to love, admire, adapt and work towards the conservation of the environment, our nature. I have had an intense inclination towards our environment since my childhood, and believe that being an artist is a by-product of that inclination.
I certainly got an opportunity to out-pour what I stored for a few years now since my several visits to different regions of Himalaya, this is the first story that I am illustrating related to the Himalayan ecosystem.
Read Our Encounter With a Snow Leopard - written by Lobzang Le, illustrated by Tanushree Roy Paul, and published by the Nature Conservation Foundation - for free on StoryWeaver.