In Memory of Matthiessen

by Inga Yandell

Peter Matthiessen © Subhankar Banerjee

I was inspired to revisit a book I received long ago, “The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen”—as news of his passing on April 5th, 2014 (Aged 86) entered my inbox.

For years I have supported conservation of the snow leopard and formed friendships with the Snow Leopard Trust, a dedicated community of scientists, artists, students and volunteers from around the world who share a passion for preserving this beautiful cat. Their efforts revolve around research and education within local communities and through international forum, helping bridge gaps in knowledge about the elusive ‘Mountain Ghost’ and fostering opportunities for native culture and old economies to prosper. Engaging the people of the land in the study and protection of the snow leopard, embracing its value as a vital element of the ecosystem and treasure of ancient heritage (symbolic of an age old culture and connection to nature).

My mutual regard for acquainting the world with this nobel plight, is how I first came to encounter the work of naturalist, writer, Peter Matthiessen.

His was a voice that elegantly confronted truths in conservation, expressing the beauty at risk of loss and the pace and part we humans play in extinguishing its fragile presence. Greater than the words which remain, Peter’s life resonates a wondrous curiosity, earnest expression and understanding of the inseparable bond we share with nature. Should we allow the last wild vestiges to disappear, with them shall go our spirit and eventually our very existence.

Peter’s passing is a poignant reminder of life’s precious state. In remembering this great naturalist, I hope you will join me in embracing his words, and acknowledging the value of preserving our wild kingdom.

If you would like learn more about conservation for the snow leopard please visit:

Peter wrote many books over his lifetime, these critically acclaimed works have an important place on the bookshelf of those who love nature. I see no more fitting a tribute to Matthiessen, than to read or re-read the uncommon wisdom of his words.

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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