An Indian wildlife conservation film on a snow leopard and her two cubs has won top honours at the UN-sponsored International Big Cats Film Festival organised by Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival on the occasion of World Wildlife Day celebrated on 3 March.

Gyamo~Queen of the Mountains was produced by Riverbank Studios, and written and directed by Doel Trivedy and Gautam Pandey, a communique said on Monday.

Big cats are among the most widely recognised and admired animals across the globe.

However, today these charismatic predators are facing many and varied threats, which are mostly caused by human activities.

Overall, their population is declining at a disturbing rate due to loss of habitat and prey, conflicts with people, poaching and illegal trade, the communique added.

The winning film, under Local Voices category, is about Gyamo, a snow leopard and her two cubs, who haven’t been seen since a big male snow leopard appeared in her area.

Wildlife filmmaker duo Mike and Gautam Pandey returned to Ladakh to pick up their trail and find the cubs.

Exploring the amazing landscape of Ladakh they discovered there are many challenges that surround this endangered cat and threaten their very home.

Celebrating this success, Mike Pandey, well-known wildlife filmmaker at Riverbank Studios, said, “Gyamo has been one of our toughest calls ~ challenging hostile terrain and an elusive big cat, critically endangered and just a handful struggling for survival. We needed the film to highlight the multifarious challenges the snow leopard is facing. The world needs to know .”

The true stories about big cats went beyond simply being visually mesmerizing and engaging.

They showed the challenges facing these iconic species and they featured the front-line heroes and the solutions that are necessary to be able to save populations of big cats around the world.

Over 200 entries were submitted for the international competition from which the winners were selected from among the 16 finalists.

Big cats was the theme of the global celebration of this year’s World Wildlife Day. The film festival was hosted by CITES and Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

Big cats are key apex predators that keep ecosystems healthy and eight species are being celebrated for the event ~ the clouded leopard, jaguar, cheetah, leopard, lion, snow leopard, tiger and puma.

Another film, Looking for Sultan, was a finalist in ‘Issues and Solution’s category at the same festival.

This film has touched many serious conservation issues, including India’s highest landfill on the outskirts of Leh.

Feral dogs are another largely unaddressed but extremely serious issue that directly threatens India’s wildlife.

Reports of wildlife being killed by feral dogs are frighteningly common and frequent. In this film there are sequences of an endangered brown bear being surrounded by a pack of dogs.

Both films, Gyamo and Looking for Sultan, are currently on air on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.