Natural World (1983–…): Season 0, Episode 0 - Natural World - full transcript

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ATTENBOROUGH: High in the mountains
of Pakistan

lives a cat so elusive that it's rarely been filmed.

Until 2004,

when the BBC Planet Earth series
showed the world the first images

of a wild snow leopard hunting.

For the men who filmed this shot,

it marked the beginning of a love affair
with the snow leopard.

MALIK: I just looked straight into her eyes
and she just caught mine,

and I think that was, you know, love at first sight.

ATTENBOROUGH: Driven by
this new-found passion,

the two men returned, determined to get to know
this almost mythical beast.



This icon of the wilderness.

What they discovered went far deeper
than they had ever expected,

to the very heart of the cat's battle for survival.

The leopard jumped out,
she fell down and fainted,

and the leopard took off.

He's saying that, "If the leopard comes back,
I'll just have to shoot it."

ATTENBOROUGH: This is the first film
to go beyond the myth

and tell the snow leopard's real story.

Unlike most people who go in search
of endangered animals,

Nisar Malik is not a biologist
or a wildlife cameraman.

(SPEAKING URDU)

ATTENBOROUGH: Nisar is a journalist,

and he's gained an intimate knowledge
of these mountains and their people

by working here for 20 years
with foreign news crews.



Most of the news stories
I was covering at that time

related to Afghanistan
and the tribal areas of Pakistan.

The children of war, the frontline between
the Taliban and the Northern Alliance,

and a lot of the opium and heroin trade
that was taking place at that time.

ATTENBOROUGH: Nisar is now returning
to Northern Pakistan

for one of the biggest challenges of his life,

to build on the tantalising snow leopard material
he helped capture for Planet Earth.

This quest has brought him
to the mountains of Chitral,

part of the giant Himalayan range
that stretches all the way to China.

No-one knows how many
snow leopards remain here.

The cats are so rare
and the terrain so challenging

that many fear they will become extinct
before anyone finds a way to count them.

In winter, Chitral is cut off
from the rest of the world

by heavy snowfalls,
and rarely visited by outsiders.

Accompanying Nisar is
expert cameraman Mark Smith.

Together, they plan to spend at least a year
in pursuit of their dream,

which means spending Christmas
away from home.

SMITH: I guess snow leopards are about
the only thing that would make you come out.

The thought that maybe just up there,
there is still a snow leopard

and you might just film it.

So, yeah. I guess it's the biggest draw
you could possibly ever want.

ATTENBOROUGH: Christmas morning,
and Nisar prepares an unconventional meal.

And rather than just sitting around looking
at the snow and the rest of it,

I thought, have a big, thumping breakfast today.

SMITH: Has that got testicles in it?

It's got a heart, liver and kidneys.

SMITH: Great.

Slightly hungover,
so it's not probably the most exciting thing.

-You want beans?
-No.

ATTENBOROUGH: So little is known
about these isolated valleys

that the team's best chance of sighting a leopard
is simply to cover as much ground as possible.

Fresh snowfall covers all animal prints,
making tracking difficult.

But it does transform the valley
into a fairytale landscape.

As soon as it starts snowing
and as soon as it starts looking like this,

it just becomes a completely magical place.

ATTENBOROUGH: What the team does discover
is a haven for wildlife.

Markhor are extremely rare mountain goats,
but they seem abundant here.

This is an encouraging sign,
as markhor are prime leopard prey.

After weeks of searching,
there's no sign of the elusive cat,

and as the snows get heavier,
animals start to move down to the lower slopes.

MALIK: The animals are struggling.
We can't get around much.

I think it's time we retreat. Get out of here.

ATTENBOROUGH: They need to find a place
where a leopard will come to them.

But guessing the best location for a stakeout
is almost as hard as finding a leopard.

Nisar's news-gathering skills will be needed.

His local contacts may provide a lead.

Story is, if you tell the snow leopard that
you are king of the jungle,

he takes a step back and lets you go through.

ATTENBOROUGH: As usual, plenty of stories,
but nothing helpful.

Finally, they get a tip-off.

A snow leopard has been seen coming close
to a nearby village.

SMITH: I just hope it's there when we get there.

How fast can this car go?

(ALL CHUCKLING)

ATTENBOROUGH: Having spent weeks
searching Pakistan's wildest frontiers,

could the team really succeed in a place
so accessible to humans?

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

For once, there is truth in the rumours.

Holy...

I can't believe they're here.

ATTENBOROUGH: The snow leopard
is not only here,

but out in full view.

MALIK: It's just the most fabulous,
fabulous feeling ever.

Right in front of us is one of
the most elusive creatures in the world,

looking straight at us right now.

Oh, here we go.

SMITH: Hello.

ATTENBOROUGH: For years,
scientists and filmmakers

have tried to get close to the snow leopard
and failed.

But now, here was a snow leopard
venturing into our world.

No longer the stuff of myth and legend,
but a living, breathing animal.

Day after day, Mark is able to film
this consummate mountaineer,

a creature utterly at home
on these perilous slopes.

Her markings provide superb camouflage,

whilst her giant paws and immense tail

lend balance to
SOMe Very precarious manoeuvres.

A wild snow leopard, relaxed in the presence
of humans, is completely unheard of.

why should an animal accustomed to
roaming hundreds of miles

keep returning to the same spot?

Before Mark and Nisar can find the answer,
she disappears.

A few days later,
Nisar gets worrying news from the local village.

We've just got reports
that a sheep herder out here

had about 18 of his sheep and goat attacked,
by apparently an old leopard.

And we're just going up to have a chat with them
and see if there's any truth to the matter.

Perhaps the chance of an easy meal
had lured the female leopard

into the heart of the settlement.

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MALIK: He's saying,
"When you get wounds like this,

"it's only the leopard that does that."

And it's got very sharp incisions.

But I'm still surprised it's so close
to the population.

I thought it must've been
while they were grazing up in the mountains.

(BLEETING)

ATTENBOROUGH: The herdsmen of Chitral
survive on the margins,

especially in winter,

and can't afford to lose their livestock
for any reason.

But predators also have an urgent need to feed,

and they make no distinction
between wild and domestic prey.

As animals descend to escape the snows,
these conflicts become heightened.

As with many remote places,
the notion that isolation has led

to a perfectly preserved wilderness
is simply untrue.

The population is expanding,

and the boundaries between
wild and cultivated areas have become blurred,

increasing the potential for conflict.

When the female reappears, it becomes clear

that the proximity of livestock
is not the real reason she's here.

SMITH: So I was concentrating
on getting shots of the snow leopard,

and Nisar was stood by my side.

And he went, "There's another one."

I was going, "Shut up."

And he said, "There's another snow leopard."
I was going, "What?"

And you'd see this snow leopard
moving inside the cave.

MALIK: And then suddenly from that hole
pops out this face.

And you could see it was a juvenile,
it just had this lost look about it.

And I was in fits.
I mean, I was like jumping up and down,

and Mark was going, "Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
Let me frame her, let me frame her."

(GROWLING)

ATTENBOROUGH: The next time
Mark and Nisar find them,

the young male cub has grown in confidence
and is venturing further from the cave.

He seems to have taken a dislike
to the local magpies.

MALIK: He was learning. Everything he was doing,
he was mimicking the mother.

She doesn't like magpies either.
But he was looking at them as playful things.

She probably considers them,
you know, a nuisance.

ATTENBOROUGH: There is playtime,

and then there are times when a young snow
leopard needs to pay proper attention.

(GROWLS)

MALIK: Whenever she went hunting,

there was this amazing communication
between them,

where she'd take a few steps,
he'd start following,

and then she'd just turn around and look at him,

and he'd just look at her and then just slink away
and go back and sit in the cave.

Obviously, there was a training going on
which was not hands-on.

It was, "Look, but don't come near me."

ATTENBOROUGH: A one-year-old cub
needs as much food as its mother.

With two mouths to feed,
the female is under pressure to kill regularly.

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

ATTENBOROUGH: News of
an even more brazen attack

on local livestock is of great concern to Nisar.

This is the lady.
When she came in, she pushed the door open,

and the minute she did that,
the leopard jumped out,

pushed her back, she fell down and fainted,
and the leopard took off.

This one's actually been eaten from the back.
It's pretty gory right now.

ATTENBOROUGH: Nisar knows a killing spree

so close to where the mother is hunting
is dangerous.

She'll be blamed, even if she's not the culprit.

I've asked him
that if he goes up again with his livestock

and the leopard comes back,
what is he gonna do?

And he's saying that, "I'll just have to shoot her."

ATTENBOROUGH: With so much at stake,
it's a relief when Mark gets concrete evidence

that the mother can provide for her cub
from the wild population of markhor.

Her prey weighs as much as she does,

and dragging it up a slope as steep as this
must take enormous effort.

It's imperative she gets the carcass
back to her den

so that her cub can feed
undisturbed by scavengers.

But a single markhor won't feed the pair for long.

within a couple of days,
she'll need to hunt again.

Over the next few weeks, Mark and Nisar spend
long periods with the mother and cub

and start to build a detailed visual record
of snow leopard family life.

By capturing the pair on film,

Mark and Nisar have started to bring
the snow leopard from the realm of myth

into the land of the living.

Just as the crew are starting to realise
how challenging it is

for a leopard to survive in this terrain,
filming is cut short by a catastrophe,

one that shows how precarious all life is
in these mountains.

I was actually starting to enjoy
being here with the crew and seeing the leopard.

Pakistan had one of its largest earthquakes ever
in the mountain areas.

Close to 100,000 people died in that.

The suffering and the kind of horror
was beyond belief.

We lost a whole generation of children.
I mean, approximately 40,000 kids died.

Because this earthquake struck in the morning
and schools had just started.

I mean...

You know, I've got children and I've seen children
being pulled out of rubble

and stuff like that, and it was horrific.

MALIK: But it had to be responded to,
and people like myself,

or anyone who had any expertise,
had to respond to that calamity.

ATTENBOROUGH: With his unrivalled knowledge
of these remote regions,

Nisar is ideally qualified to lead a team
of mountain survival experts

and deliver aid directly to those most in need.

Every winter is hard for mountain people,

but the earthquake had deprived them of even
the basic amenities they needed to survive.

Filming of the snow leopard
has been a high point of my life.

Responding to people in need...

They are my people.
I mean, how could you ignore that?

ATTENBOROUGH: Six months later,

and the humanitarian disaster
has finally begun to ease.

The team returns,
hoping to catch up with their snow leopards

before the cub is weaned.

But it's now summer
and the chances of finding them

at this time of year are not good.

In winter, we've established
that it has a certain pattern,

and you can sort of follow that,
follow the herds of goat and stuff like that.

But I think summer's anyone's guess.

SMITH: It's pretty unknown, it is. Completely.

As wildlife shoots go,
there's very little known about it.

ATTENBOROUGH: With scorching temperatures
in the valleys,

most animals head back up the slopes
in search of cooler weather and greener pastures.

What might be an easy journey for the wildlife
requires a major expedition for Mark and Nisar,

who will need a much larger team
to support them over the eight-week trip ahead.

We cross that pasture, go over,
and then go straight down,

and then we go behind these peaks.

And see that bowlish looking thing?
That dark patch way back there?

That's the final camp.

And if you went a two-day walk from there,
you're in Afghanistan.

You can almost sense
why the snow leopard would be there.

It's gotta be really isolated.

ATTENBOROUGH: No film crew
had ventured here before.

MALIK: One of the main reasons why
documentary makers haven't come out

and filmed the snow leopard is because
Pakistan has an image abroad.

It's been exploited for all the wrong reasons.

(PANTING)

This is supposed to be the easy part.

MALIK: We're 30, 40 kilometres
from the Afghan border.

You know, Al-Qaeda has been there,
the Taliban had been there,

I've done stories on those things.

But there is so much more
we have to offer the world,

and no-one is taking the trouble
to find out about that.

We're 150 million people out here,
and we're not terrorists.

We have some of
the most hospitable people out here.

We have an amazing national history.

And this is a great opportunity
to use the snow leopard as an ambassador.

To show that there is so much more
that we have to offer.

ATTENBOROUGH: A week into their journey,
and the terrain was taking its toll.

MALIK: It humbled us. It was gruelling.
It was really difficult.

Everything is so steep. There's no paths.

There's rock falls, there's mud slides.
I mean, it was really dangerous.

ATTENBOROUGH: The team are heading
for a high-altitude meadow,

rumoured to be full of marmots,
ideal leopard prey.

Nisar establishes a base camp
some distance away,

so as not to disturb the wildlife.

They're optimistic that a place
with such easy pickings

will be a magnet for predators of all kinds.

That sounds like a good marmot field, up there.

That sounds really good. You know, if it's got
a concentration of food for something,

you're gonna get something coming in,
so let's try that.

Okay.

ATTENBOROUGH: The magnitude
of the task ahead is felt by all.

MALIK: I'm like a worried mother.

(MALIK CHUCKLING)

My son's leaving home.

(CHUCKLING)

ATTENBOROUGH: Up here, animals are not
used to seeing humans.

Mark will have to conceal himself
by building a hide.

Now, all he can do is wait.

As the weeks pass,
it becomes clear that these meadows

are not populated by thousands of marmots.

In fact, only a handful live here,

and even those don't do much.

SMITH: (WHISPERING) There's a marmot
on a rock in front of me.

It's been there about half an hour.

And in that time, it's moved its head twice

and its leg once.

(FLIES BUZZING)

SMITH: (WHISPERING) You have to go through
so much just to get close to them,

because they're very, very nervous,

and are the insurance salesmen
of the animal world.

You know, they just don't do anything
without checking everything out first.

ATTENBOROUGH: With the rumours of a leopard
nirvana appearing greatly exaggerated,

Nisar hunts for any clue he can find.

MALIK: It's not even a needle in a haystack
because we don't even know if there is a needle.

The haystack's big.

(CHUCKLES)

ATTENBOROUGH: Two weeks on and it's clear
there are no snow leopards in the area.

Mark's frustration at only having marmots
to film is finally beginning to show.

SMITH: I hate the marmots.

They're just sort of lazy layabouts.
Sit around all day in the sun,

and occasionally stand up and alarm loudly.

(SQUEAKING)

Usually at my hide, which, as far as I can see,
is perfectly all right.

But they don't seem to think so.

(SQUEAKING)

SMITH: Their alarm call is so piercing,
it physically hurts your ears.

And when they get really fed up,
they run down the burrows

and they alarm in the burrows.

So, hopefully, they'll be deafening themselves
down in the burrows.

(SQUEAKING)

ATTENBOROUGH: With nothing to focus
snow leopard activity,

the difficulty of even seeing one
becomes all too apparent.

MALIK: Now you can see why it is so impossible
to see this animal.

Where do you begin?

Where do you begin?

I'd love people to see this image of Pakistan.

It's not made up. It's real.

Sadly, very few people spend their time
trying to project this.

ATTENBOROUGH: Their eight-week slog
come to an end and proves fruitless.

But Nisar remains philosophical.

MALIK: We had to go out and see for ourselves
because we just had stories and rumours.

And if we just ignored them,
you never know what we would have missed.

So we had to go out and see.

And, in a way, it was essential
to put the story together,

to piece everything together,

that it's not necessary that you will see her
in that habitat in summer.

But the fact is, you have to try,
so that you have a better understanding.

ATTENBOROUGH: With the onset of winter,
heavy snows threaten.

Mark and Nisar return,
desperate to catch up with their female leopard.

The signs are good. Markhor have begun
their annual retreat into the valleys,

and the team think the leopard will follow.

Reports of an increase in leopard sightings
have also brought a team of scientists to Chitral.

By laying traps higher up
at the head of the valley,

they hope to catch and collar the snow leopard
as it begins its descent.

But Mark and Nisar's instinct
is to target the lower slopes.

It's been a year since they saw the female,
and now that her cub is independent,

she will no longer be tied to one area
and will be free to follow her prey.

Once more, the markhor are entering
a busy period in their social calendar,

one that will make them
far more vulnerable to attack.

It's the start of the mating season.

Competition between males is fierce.

With the biggest males preoccupied,

the younger males might have a chance
to sneak off with a female.

Allin all, the markhor are thoroughly distracted.

It's a great opportunity for their snow leopard.

Surely she will come.

Well, I don't know, this time of the afternoon.

There should be... The markhor should be
just starting to come down.

Maybe they'll come down to the river, and...

MALIK: Mark! Leopard!

SMITH: Leopard! Great. Get the legs and the bag.

Where is she?

Up there on that rock. Just sitting up there.

MALIK: Oh, it's her. She's got a collar on.

She's been tagged.

ATTENBOROUGH: As the snow leopard study
was far from the filming site,

Mark and Nisar had not considered the possibility
that their cat would be the first to be captured.

SMITH: You can see the leopard just up there,
and she's just gone into hunting mode.

And it's blatantly obvious she's just started
to move now. Blatantly obvious.

You can see the collar as she moves.

I mean, I don't know how
she's gonna catch anything,

because that's so obvious, even to us.

ATTENBOROUGH: This could be Mark's chance
to film a hunt.

But would the collar handicap a predator
that relies on camouflage?

SMITH: The leopard's seen a small group
of markhor below her,

and she's trying to work out the best way
to get to them, as far as I can see.

Amazing.

This is exactly where we filmed her before.

This is the point where she either blows it,
which she usually does,

or she actually makes the kill.

Is this amazing or what?

Yeah, it's incredible.

What I really need is for you to tell me
how close the markhor are to her.

MALIK: There are about 50 metres or less.
The markhor is coming, running right here.

Oh, yeah.

SMITH: There she goes. She's moving.

MALIK: Yeah.
SMITH: She's moving.

MALIK: Yeah, yeah.
SMITH: I'm getting ready.

MALIK: Okay.

There's about 25 metres, 20 metres.

Four, five of the markhor
are coming the same way.

-SMITH: Are they moving towards her?
-Yes. Not more than 15 metres.

Coming closer.

Now, that one's right below her.
The little ones are coming in.

Now she's five metres, not more.

Here she comes. She's coming up the rise.

She's like three, four metres from her.

Here we go. Oh, goddamn you.

-They're going. She blew it.
-SMITH: She blew it.

(SMITH EXCLAIMING)

-She seemed really slow.
-Yeah.

She's off again.

MALIK: The markhor haven't really gone very far.
They're just on the other side.

SMITH: Is there still one there?
She's looking at something.

She's definitely looking at something.

MALIK: There's a markhor just down here
between the trees.

This time, she's got a better approach.

Here she goes.

(MARKHOR BLEATING)

(GROANS)

MALIK: (LAUGHING)
Oh, this is déja vu, my friend. Like...

There's another markhor that's gone in water.

Wow.

(MALIK CHUCKLING)

What's going on? This is mad.

ATTENBOROUGH: Collaring a wild snow leopard
is a remarkable breakthrough for science,

but it leaves Nisar with mixed feelings.

Seeing her...

doesn't make me feel good.

Not a good feeling.

I'm ecstatic to see her,
but I'm sad to see her this way.

ATTENBOROUGH: News of the first sighting
since her capture brings the head scientist,

Tom McCarthy, down to the filming site.

He needs to gather
information for his study firsthand.

A big tree, above that, there's that rock.

McCARTHY: All right.

The first time we saw her with the collar,
she was just sitting there.

-Beautiful backdrop.
-Mmm-hmm.

ATTENBOROUGH: His visit is a chance
for Nisar to understand

why Tom is using
such an intrusive method to study his cat.

So this study will give us an unprecedented
amount of information on snow leopards,

that we've lacked for a long time.

We try to get a better idea about
some of the basic questions like,

how big is their home range?

How do they react
when people enter their habitat?

How do they relate to livestock in their habitat?

These are really basic questions,

and the only way to really answer them
is to use telemetry.

ATTENBOROUGH: Tom hopes that,
over the next year,

data will be uploaded from the collar
to orbiting satellites,

so that he can track
the cat's movements remotely.

So limited is our knowledge of snow leopards
that any data from the collar will be invaluable.

McCARTHY: When I see her out here,
now with the collar on,

I see a wild snow leopard
doing what a wild snow leopard does,

but just sharing that information with us,

so that we can do a better job
of conserving wild snow leopards everywhere.

ATTENBOROUGH: Only recent developments
in satellite technology

have made this study possible.

But like many pioneering projects,
things don't go exactly to plan.

News arrives that Nisar's leopard
has been accidentally recaptured.

A dart, containing anaesthetic,
will be needed to remove her from the snare

with the minimum of harm.

MALIK: It was a real shock to see her
struggling like this.

Even though this was for science,
part of me just wanted to set her free.

ATTENBOROUGH: At close quarters,
her presence is bewitching.

One of the most amazing parts of the trapping

was the reaction of the locals towards her.

You could see them gently brushing the snow
off her fur, patting her.

ATTENBOROUGH: The surprise capture
is a chance for the locals to see her up close,

and for researchers to change her collar
for one with a fresh battery.

The cuts are cleaned with antiseptic swabs
to lessen the chance of infection,

and she's kept warm
when at her most vulnerable.

Every remaining snow leopard is precious.

There was this mystical creature, a legend,

suddenly surrounded by humans who were trying
to pin her down and shackle her.

And yet, there's a magic that this beast gives off.

It was strange to see humans
trying to tame nature.

Trying to tame this animal.

ATTENBOROUGH: After she had been asleep
in the cage for eight hours,

the researchers were confident
the tranquiliser had worn off.

(SNARLING)

(GROWLING)

ATTENBOROUGH: She seemed to have made
a full recovery,

but the recapture had sown fresh doubts
in Nisar's mind.

Tom, are you afraid of the risks that are involved?

Does it justify it?

If I didn't feel that it justified
what we're doing, I wouldn't do it.

You've become emotionally attached
to this animal.

As a biologist,
I know very few people in my position

that aren't very emotional about the animals
that we have spent our lives trying to protect.

For me to go out there and put a collar on a cat

is probably as rough on me as it is to that cat.

Idon't doit lightly.
I think of nothing but her safety.

And I know that, yes, she's sacrificing a little bit,
and she's wearing an ugly radio collar.

And she's going to carry it for a year,
maybe two or three years.

But she's doing this for the betterment
of the species,

for the betterment of snow leopards
here in Pakistan,

for the betterment of snow leopards
all the way across the range.

I know that if we do this, we have a much better
chance of saving all of these cats.

ATTENBOROUGH: But the project
will only be a success

if the female behaves naturally,
unhampered by the collar.

If not, the data will be worthless.

A few days later,
Mark begins to recognise behaviours in her

that he had seen prior to the collaring.

SMITH: At about 2:30 in the afternoon,
she went off to a cliff, and waited there.

There's no markhor around at all.

And then suddenly, you could just see
a few boulders rolling down.

And there's one markhor
that was coming down the cliff.

And she heard the boulders and she moved
around this cliff and took up this position,

slightly higher up than the markhor,
who went down away from her,

and then down towards this gully.

And as she came down the scree slope,
she did this rolling thing which she does.

She'll roll right over on her back
like a domestic cat.

when she does this rolling,
you know that she's into a serious hunt.

We don't quite know why.

Maybe it's to kind of mask the scent
or change the colour.

So she went further down,
and she got to this point,

and she was looking down at the markhor.

And the markhor just went over
the lip of the gully,

and as soon as he'd gone over the lip,
she charged down the hill.

Really long run.

It got to this bush, and hid in this bush.

I was following her down, and I got to this point.

And because of this black and white
viewfinder in the camera,

I couldn't really see what was going on.

In fact, the markhor
was just right in the middle of the frame.

I couldn't see it at all.

So, I was like,
"Where's she gone? Where's she gone?"

Moved the camera, and at that moment,
she came charging out of the bush,

and took him out. Jumped right on top of him,

and they disappeared down to the bottom
of this gully.

She had made a successful kill,
and so, even with this white collar on,

you know, she was obviously still able to survive.

So that was quite a relief to see
she could do that. That was good.

MALIK: For the longest time, I was really upset

You know, I just could not see
the justification of all of this.

But now, having seen her hunt with her collar on,

it was almost like she was happy.

She seems okay, and it almost seems worthwhile.

ATTENBOROUGH: The successful hunt
is the turning point for Mark and Nisar.

It becomes clear their photographic record
will be more important

than they had ever imagined.

The researchers will be able to use these images
alongside the data from the collar.

They're far more informative together
than either is alone.

Using this combination of science and film,

we're finally starting to understand
this most enigmatic of creatures.

A window on the life of the snow leopard
has finally been opened.

Over the next few weeks,
another benefit of the collar becomes clear.

In the past, the team had to rely on
instinct or rumours to find the leopard.

Now, they can use hard data from the collar.

For the first time,
the team can actually follow her.

The information from the researchers
leads them back to the local village,

where Mark films her sleeping
next to a fresh kill.

But the camera reveals her prey to be
a wild markhor, not a goat.

What is learnt from studying snow leopards now
may help to save them in the future,

but Nisar knows his leopard faces
an immediate risk from the local villagers.

He decides to visit the herdsmen
whose goats were killed last winter.

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MALIK: People like this need the support.

They need to understand that
there is a bigger picture.

These people exist day to day. They have nothing.

As a Pakistani, I can empathise with them,
that I can see their dilemma.

You have to take these people into the fold

if the snow leopard and the rest
of these animals have to survive here.

ATTENBOROUGH: By showing the villagers images

and explaining the scientific study,

Nisar hopes to make people aware of the value
of their feline neighbour.

(ALL LAUGHING)

He says, "Actually, this is my enemy."

And then he looked at it again and he said,
"Well, no, actually, that's my friend now."

MALIK: This is their heritage.
It's their natural world.

It's their natural wildlife out here.

If they're not involved, nothing will work.

We must give ownership of their heritage
back to these people.

ATTENBOROUGH: By filming
such remarkable images,

Mark and Nisar have begun to lift the veil
from this almost mythical creature.

They set out to tell the story
of an individual snow leopard,

but, in the event, achieved far more than that.

SMITH: Who would have believed,
during our time here,

the first snow leopard collaring project
in 20 years

would not only come to here,
but also collar our snow leopard.

The issues involved are far more interesting

than just trying to take a pretty picture
of a snow leopard.

we're all now involved in
a much more profound kind of understanding

of the conservation issues
than when we first came here.

MALIK: If you want to create awareness,

if you want these people to feel that they belong

and the animal belongs to them,
they must share in that.

So whether you show it to them
in the form of a photograph,

or on a mobile phone, or whatever it is,
it's essential that that be shared with them.

(CHILDREN GIGGLING)

My wish and hope,
that they see the snow leopard for real,

rather than on a mobile phone.

That's what all the work should translate into.

That should be something that
they look forward to in their future.

Not just this image, but the real thing.

MALIK: I'm aware of the fact that
our snow leopard will be used and exploited,

whether it's for science, or for tourism,
or to promote Pakistan's image.

If I'm honest with you, for me, personally,

she's touched me on a much deeper,
personal level.

That's something that demands that I come back
and look after her

the way she's looked after me.