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Tracking the Elusive Snow Leopard on "the Roof of the World"
 
Holding 60% of Snow Leopard's habitat, China possibly is home to the most snow leopards in the world. The habitat spans 1,100,000 square kilometers and covers the most of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. In this exciting tour, we will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to search for these rare and elusive big cats on "the Roof of the World". We will spend about one week camping inside the core area of the snowy and deserted habitat and scan the massive rock faces on hill ridges where snow leopards like to perch and get a commanding view around. This vast area is a pasture of a specific family that provides us a relatively stable opportunity to search for them. Despite this, it is still a bit challenging to spot them out of the snowy habitat considering the camouflaged color of their fur.
 
During our exploration for the leopard, we may encounter some other incredible plateau mammals including Pallas's Cat, Wild Yak, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Fox, Tibetan Wolf, White-lipped Deer, Kiang, etc. For birds, we have good chances of seeing Tibetan Snowcock, Black-necked Crane, Bar-headed Goose, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, White-rumped Snowfinch, Ground Tit, Himalayan Griffon and Lammergeier, etc. 
 
Besides, the marvelous Kangba Tibetan culture is a bonus on this trip. The prevalent Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in the region have worked in many respects to preserve the natural wealth of this wide region. The wildlife abundance of Qinghai along with its beauty and richness can be directly linked to the harmonious coexistence between animals and humans. Here in Qinghai, respect for the equality of nature and animals is a spiritual obligation.
 

Tour Info Sheet

Highlight Birds
Himalayan Vulture, Saker Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Little Owl, Tibetan Snowcock, Common Pheasant, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, White-rumped Snowfinch, Ground Tit, Twite, Hume's Short-toed Lark, Asia Short-toed Lark, Mongolian Lark, Tibetan Lark, Black Redstart, etc.
Numbers of Species to Expect30-50
Ease of Birdingmoderate with a few tricky species
Highlight Mammals
Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Pallas's Cat, Tibetan Antelope, Wild Yak, Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass), White-lipped Deer, Tibetan Gazelle, Przewalski's Gazelle, Brown Bear, Steppe Polecat, Corsac Fox, Mountain Weasel, etc.
Other AttractionsTibetan culture, gorgeous plateau scenery
Photography Opportunitiesgood photography chances for plateau mammals and birds
Habitats Coveredgrasslands, deserts, snow mountains, alpine scrubs and meadows, alpine flowstone slopes
Expected Climatewindy and cold, strong sunlight at daytime, snow is possible
Physical Requirementsdemanding

What makes this trip irreplaceable?
 
1. Tracing Snow Leopard in a reliable habitat.
 
2. Searching for plateau specials including Pallas's Cat, Eurasian Lynx, Wild Yak, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Fox, Tibetan Wolf, White-lipped Deer, Kiang, etc.
 
3. Plateau birds including Tibetan Snowcock, Black-necked Crane, Bar-headed Goose, Ibisbill, etc.
 
4. The breath-taking scenery of imposing snow-capped mountains, vast grasslands, Tibetan nomadic tents.
 
5. Experienced wildlife guide and local leopard expert that has guided this trip many times ensure you a lifetime traveling experience.
 
6. A small group size of no more than 8 travelers.
 
7. Years of working as a local partner for some prestigious western companies specialized in birds and wildlife.
 
8. A strong logistic team in the office to ensure our trip goes smoothly and every participant has a comfortable and memorable journey.


Dates & Prices

Dates Booking Status Price Single Supplement Group Size Guides
Jul 21-29, 2022Space Available3,420USD/pax360USD/pax8Philip He & Local Guide
Slide the sheet to the left to see the full sheet if you are viewing on your phone or tablet.
 
The cost includes the following:
1. Private transportation throughout the trip, including airport pick-up and drop-off at Yushu Airport.
2. All meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 9; Boxed meals when needed.
3. All the entrance tickets for places listed in the itinerary including cable cars and shuttle buses.
4. Hotel stays from the first day to the last day, two clients occupy one twin-bed room on a sharing basis at nice 3 or 4 star hotels in big cities; Camp tents inside the habitat.
5. Bottled water and snacks throughout the trip.
7. Service charges of a professional wildlife guide and an experienced local leopard guide throughout the whole trip.
8. China domestic travel insurance.
9. Service of all logistic supports. 
 
The cost does not include the following:
a. Drinks during meals.
b. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from the client's side or factors beyond the control of AlpineBirding such as natural disaster or governmental policy change.
c. Discretionary tips to guides and drivers.
d. All personal expenses such as laundry service.
e. ANY AIRFARE except those stated in the itinerary.
f. Any program not listed in the itinerary.


Itinerary

Tour Map

Day 1: Arrival in Yushu, China.
Arrive Yushu and met by your AlpineBirding private guide and driver. Today we will stay in Yushu to acclimatize ourselves to the elevation around 3,700 meters. As we will depart to the leopard habitat the next day where the elevation rises up to 4,200 meters, we strongly suggest you arrive 1 or 2 days earlier and spend more time in Yushu if you have not been to a high-elevation area like this.
 
Day 2: Yushu to Snow Leopard habitat.
Our logistic team will set out early to the Snow Leopard habitat to set up camp. We will drive to our destination and start our wildlife exploration on the way. As we drive to the vast grassland of Sanjiangyuan National Park, the largest reserve in China, we can expect to encounter some interesting plateau species such as Tibetan Fox, Tibetan Wolf, Black-lipped Pika, Himalayan Marmot, etc. With some luck, we may see the elusive Pallas's Cat and Eurasian Lynx. In addition, we can also see some stunning plateau birds including Upland Buzzard, Himalayan Vulture, Saker Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, White-rumped Snowfinch, Ground Tit, etc.
 
Day 3-7: Snow Leopard habitat.
We will search for Snow Leopard in different mountains and valleys around our campsite each day along with our local Tibetan leopard guide with years' experience of leopard exploration who also works with many NGOs for plateau wildlife survey and conservation. We will trek to nearby valleys looking for snow leopard trace and its main prey Blue Sheep, as it can be an important clew for us. Our daily schedule is not fixed, we will work out the strategy based on the actual weather conditions and snow leopard movements. The idea is to have the best possibility to track this "ghost cat". 
 
During our exploration on the munificent plateau, we will also have chances to see other mammals like Tibetan Wolf, Pallas's Cat, Tibetan Antelope, Wild Yak, Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass), White-lipped Deer, Tibetan Gazelle, Przewalski's Gazelle, Brown Bear, Steppe Polecat, Corsac Fox, Mountain Weasel, etc.
 
Bird watching is also exciting here, we can expect some sought-after species like Upland Buzzard, Himalayan Vulture, Saker Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Little Owl, Tibetan Snowcock, Common Pheasant, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, White-rumped Snowfinch, Ground Tit, Twite, Hume's Short-toed Lark, Asia Short-toed Lark, Mongolian Lark, Tibetan Lark, Black Redstart, etc.
 
Day 8: Snow Leopard habitat to Yushu.
This morning, we will continue our exploration and work the final effort on finding our targets. In the afternoon, we will drive back to Yushu for overnight our lovely hotel.
 
Day 9: Departure from Yushu.
Following a lovely breakfast at the hotel, we will send you to Yushu Airport to catch your flight. This will conclude the services for this scheduled itinerary from AlpineBirding.


Guide(s)

Philip He
As a half Kangba Tibetan, Philip is the main founder of AlpineBirding and is a native of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He has a deep love for his Kangba Tibetan heritage and the land where he was born and raised. Philip's career has gone from mining technician to a teacher, then a translator, and finally to a guide and tour operator. As a professional working in this field for more than 20 years, Philip believes travel is an art and a process of sharing and discovery. Each trip is a unique artistic work created with knowledge and expertise based on the resources available and the interests and tastes of travelers. To help more people to gain a lifetime birding and traveling experience, he established AlpineBirding with the aim to bring his professional, fun-filled tours to more people who are eager to explore birds and other beautiful attractions in China. 

Besides, one of our local leopard guides will participate in this trip to ensure a high-end traveling experience.


Reports


We don't have a report available for this tour at this stage, please feel free to email us, we are more than happy to answer any of your questions and share the latest bird information with you.

Testimonials

.
David Sherry / Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Qinhai Birding Trip
 
A wonderful birding trip with Parus Yang, a knowledgeable and highly professional bird guide.

We visited a variety of sites that included a range of very different habitats and saw a great many novel and interesting birds of the Tibetan Plateau. Parus's enthusiasm and bird expertise made the trip a great success.

 
David Sherry / Qinghai-Tibet Plateau August 26, 2017
KC Lee / Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Dear Philip,
 
Despite the hassles, it has been a very joyful journey! We have had countless happy moments and excellent views of birds many rare birds. Thanks for the excellent arrangements. Looking forward to have chance to bird with you and your colleagues again.
 
Yes we indeed need to produce appropriate documents in order to claim insurance. To simplify matters, we will draft a sample letter to you, so that you can reprodue several copies of it, one for each member of the group, with the individual's name and identity appear in the letter. The draft letter should be ready within the next few days. Thanks.
 
KC Lee / Qinghai-Tibet Plateau January 20, 2016
Michel Watelet / Customized Trip
Hi Philip 
 
Thanks also for this trip, you were very friendly and professional.
I’ll go to Brasil next week for birdwatching and mammals.

Michel Watelet, joined our customized trip in 2013.
 
Michel Watelet / Customized Trip April 19, 2013
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