Thin Ice. 2012. Ceramic, glazes, and glass. Slate base. 10"H x 12"W x 10"D.
The snow leopard ranges the high, cold, and remote mountains of Central Asia in fragmented populations. They are listed as endangered, so international trade in their parts is illegal in much of their range. Threats come from depletion of their natural prey, retributive killing by herders whose livestock have been preyed upon, and by demand for snow leopard bones in traditional Chinese medicine.
The International Snow Leopard Trust and the Snow Leopard Conservancy are the world's two leading organizations dedicated specifically to conserving this endangered cat. Both organizations use a multifaceted approach involving research, education, community-based conservation, and the protection of domestic livestock. Local people are involved in plans to link fragmented populations in hopes of improving the long-term survival of this secretive and critically endangered cat.
When I was researching the range of the snow leopard (10-14 countries including parts of Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and regions of China including Tibet) I was struck by the diversity of human culture in Central Asia. One thing they all had in common was an appreciation for tea.