While we were in the Hemis Wildlife Sanctuary in Ladakh, we camped at the Junction camp that is ideally located at the base of the Rumbak valley. The steep snow capped rocky terrain and the large Bharal (Himalayan Blue Sheep) population in the Husing nallah and Tarbung valley make the camp an ideal location to search for the ‘Ghost of the mountains‘.

We were confident that we would soon get good photographs of the Blue Sheep (Bharal) – the favorite prey of the Snow Leopard. However, we knew that would be possible only if we got close to a herd and had clear weather with good lighting. On our first trek to the Husing nallah we almost immediately  sighted a Blue Sheep herd on an adjoining ridge. However, the low lighting did not help much with photography. The next morning we once again sighted a Blue Sheep herd and this time, not only were they much closer, but the lighting was also perfect for photography! We could not have asked for anything more.

As we were observing and photographing the herd, we noticed that the dominant male amongst them, which was grazing nearby, was slowly and steadily moving closer and closer to us. At one point he got so close to us that that we could count the rings on his horn. The number of rings on the horn is an indication of the Blue Sheep’s age. And we estimated this one to be about 8-10 years old.

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