From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (

We woke up after an especially chilly night to find the mountains surrounding the camp were dusted with fresh snow. It is all gone now but it was impressive to see and it explained the need for the extra layers.

Fresh dusting Denis

The little stream beside the base camp is deceptively placid looking. Today, the team went on a preliminary field survey to help them find their feet.

First survey slot 5 Deniss

After crossing the creek, glacier-fed from only a couple of kilometers away, it was harder to find their feet than many expected. Some, including our excellent Kyrgyz placement Aliashkar, actually had to get visual confirmation that they were still attached to their legs! No-one fell in though, despite the fact that the last metre of the crossing was very swift and finding good ground with numb toes is not an easy task. The video of our first overnighter at below shows you what a river crossing looks like.

Today I also introduced a piece of awesome technology to the team. The thermography company, FLIR, have lent me one of their quite amazing field units. This device images the world in terms of the heat differences in the landscape. Subtle differences in temperature of fractions of a degree are rendered clearly visible. Mammals of course, being warm-bodied, stand out clearly against the cool alpine background. Perfect, I explained to FLIR, for finding warm white things in the snow at night. We will send the unit out into the field in the coming days, but I expect its greatest utility to be discovered on the overnighters when the team will have the time and the proximity to scan the rocky ends of the valleys from close up. Thanks to FLIR for this generous loan.

From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan 

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