A Snow Leopard Prespective

Natalie Turc, Author/Journalist

A Snow Leopard Perspective

      I was born in a small field in the early morning, just when the sun was slowly rising over the horizon. I couldn’t see anything, just blackness. My mother told me I wouldn’t be able to see for a while. But I felt this weird sensation, and it wasn’t that comfortable. I tried to stand but my feet just sunk into the ground. What is happening? I thought. I tried over and over but the same thing happened. Eventually, my mother picked me up and dropped me down next to her. I asked her what the sensation was, and she said I was cold. Cold from the snow. Snow? I thought. Is that what I kept sinking into? My mother told me we lived in the mountains, where it snowed often and the ground was always covered in a white coat of snow. But over time, I learned to love the snow. And eventually, I could see the snow. It was a gleaming white that shimmered in the sun. I loved it. 

      As I grew older, I learned how to hunt, how to fight, and much more. Another thing I also learned was that there was a species called humans. They aren’t good, I tell you. They came to hunt us down and turn us into coats and hats. That left us without many of our kind left. My mother told me to never wander off from our home, just in case humans were roaming around. But one day, I just got too curious. I left and found a tiny stream. It surprisingly wasn’t frozen, and it looked clear as a crystal. I decided to go and take a sip since I was thirsty from my adventure. I trotted over and let the cool water fill my mouth. It was so peaceful around there until I suddenly heard a loud gunshot. I jerked up to see humans behind me, about to capture and kill me.

      I yelped as loudly as I could, hoping someone would hear me. I tried to run but they captured me in a net. 

      Look at this snow leopard!” Said one of them in a deep voice. “Her coats are really pretty. It will look nice as a coat.” 

      Coat. I don’t like that word! I thought as I fought against the restraint. 

      “Quiet or I’ll shoot you right now!” The human said. 

      “Why don’t we shoot her right now?” Another one asked.

      “Because we need her to eat more. She’s too skinny right now and our village needs food.” 

      I immediately shut my mouth. I would find a way back home, no matter what. They put me in the back of a small truck and it felt like forever until we reached a small village at the base of the mountain. There was less snow here, which I did not like. It reeked and misery lingered in the air. Plenty of humans, but none exactly looked happy. Why would anyone want to live in such a depressing place? I thought to myself. They were hunched over and many little humans were running around. They were the only ones that looked happy. They dropped me off in a small pen outside and left me. Without food or water. I lay down on the dirt and tried to sleep through it all, but I missed my family too much. I missed my wrestling, hunting, and my mother’s soft voice.  

      I stood in that pen for days. The humans gave me more food and water over time, but one day, they started giving me tons of food. I thought it was a trick, and didn’t eat most of it. My mother told me to never trust humans. 

      “She’s not eating much.” One of the humans said one day.

      “She just needs to settle in. Give her a few days.” Another one answered.

      I knew what they wanted to do. They wanted to kill me. They were just waiting to do it. I used lots of my time to plan a way to escape but eventually got too tired to even do that. I just slept most of the day and night. Dreaming of my home and family. I wondered how long it had been since I got here. Maybe days or weeks. I’d lost track of time. I had lost lots of my strength and spirit. My mother always told me to never lose hope, but it was hard not to.

      One afternoon, just as the sun was setting, a little human girl came up to my pen and wrapped her hands around the fence. She had brown wavy hair and grayish-blue eyes. She wore a tattered pale purple dress and shoes that looked like she outgrew years ago.“Hi there.” She said softly. She sounded like my mother. But she also felt different than other humans, she made me feel warm inside. I knew I didn’t need to fear her, so I lifted my head up and looked her dead in the eyes. 

      “You’re really pretty.” She whispered. “I heard you lost your family too. I understand how you feel. My parents died years ago, and now I just run around town stealing food and water just to survive. I’m sure if the police caught me, I’d probably be sentenced to death.” 

      I tilted my head sideways and she giggled. I stood up and walked to her. She didn’t seem the slightest bit scared and even started petting my head. She smelled like wildflowers and had a gentle touch. She smiled but that quickly faded when she heard people yelling. She looked scared now. I worried I had done something wrong and looked at her with big eyes to try to get her to understand that I didn’t mean to. She still looked scared and stood up and started running away.

      “I’ll be back! I promise!” She yelled as she disappeared into the night.

      I sighed and lay back down. She was the only kind human to me. I wish she’d come back. 

      My wishes came true! She came back every day and talked to me from when the sun came up to when the sun set. It felt as if I was the only one she could talk to, and I was great at listening. But when the night came, she always ran away again. But one day, she said something to me that I would always remember her for. She said, “I’ll free you and take you back to the wild.”

      She then ran away again but what she said gave me little light in my pit of darkness. I barely slept that night thinking about it. The next day, she came with a giant stick with a stone at the end that she called an ax. She let me sniff it and then told me to back away. Why would I back away? It smells interesting. But then I knew why. She started hammering the fence of my pen with it. If she hit me with that, I doubt I would survive. She was at it for a long while until she finally cut open a hole large enough for me to crawl through it. She then sat down and breathed heavily. I stood there for a moment to make sure she wouldn’t start hammering again and finally walked through the hole. I looked around. I was finally free from that horrible pen! I licked the girl over and over again to show my appreciation and she laughed. The sun was starting to set now and she got up to run away again, but before she did, she ran up to me and hugged me tightly. 

      “I’ll never forget you.” She said softly, in that voice like my mother’s.

      She let go and ran away again, and I always wondered where she would go. Maybe to a home of her own. But it’s not home without her family, and she had none. Thinking about it made me miss my family more, so I decided to start heading home. I ran out of the village as fast as I could, the cool breeze gliding along my coat of fur. I knew many humans saw me, but none of them were fast enough to catch me.

      As I started weaving through the trees to my home, I caught the scent of my family. I was getting closer!! It took a while to get back, but I never slowed down. I was fueled by my determination. Finally, after what seemed like days, I saw my family! When they saw me, they started running toward me and I got trampled by my brothers and sisters. My mother told all my siblings to get off me and she hugged me tightly. She was worried, I could tell. And I knew I was going to get a good scolding, but what mattered most now was that we were together. As I reunited with my family, I promised myself that one day, I would go back to the small village and take the little girl back to the mountains with me, so she could finally enjoy life like she used to.