Snow Leopard Folklore of the Himalaya


The Snow Lion

This image comes from The Snow Leopard Conservancy site. It is a mythical animal popular in Buddhist stories. As noted on the site, this image is courtesy of the Ladakh Ecological Development Group.

As with all cultures, folklore and oral tradition thrives in the mountains of the Himalaya. Much of the folklore of the high altitudes deals with the elusive and mystical snow leopard. While snow leopards are often blamed for killing valuable livestock, in many areas the killing of a snow leopard is forbidden because of their mythic reputation. Some wonderful examples of this genre are available on The Snow Leopard Conservancy site. Click below to find out more about these specific regions:





Student Activity 5

Community Research & Creative Writing

Part I

The snow leopard is featured in folklore because it is not only beautiful, but elusive. Think about the area you live in. What animals (real or imagined) are featured in your local folklore? Do some research and develop a list of creatures most commonly referred to. Note the characteristics that are emphasized. Comment on why these animals might appeal to an audience. Discuss any lessons the stories seem to be teaching. Are the creatures portrayed as benign or malevolent?

Part II

Choose an animal native to your area that seems to have a certain mystique. Create a story surrounding the animal that teaches a valuable lesson in morality, piety, or environmental stewardship. To give your story the ring of authenticity, introduce it as something that happened to a distant relative or famous community member. Have fun!

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