Freeman Family Award for Sumbe Tomorsukh

Mongolian snow leopard researcher Sumbe Tomorsukh has been posthumously awarded the Freeman Family Snow Leopard Conservation Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the field, for his outstanding efforts to save this endangered cat.

Snow Leopard Trust Executive Director Brad Rutherford presented the award to Sumbe’s family at a memorial ceremony held in Ulaanbaatar.

Sumbe's father accepted the Freeman Family Award on behalf of his late son.
Sumbe’s father accepted the Freeman Family Award on behalf of his late son.

Sumbe Tomorsukh tragically passed away in 2015 much before his time. He was only 27. His death is an irreparable loss to his family and friends, as well as to all of us personally and to the Snow Leopard Trust as an organization. It is also a huge loss for Mongolia, and for the international snow leopard conservation community.

We share Sumbe’s family’s grief, and together with our colleagues in Mongolia, we stand with them through this terrible time.  We are honoring their wishes and doing whatever possible to support them in this difficult time.

Sumbe’s death has raised many questions, and there have been reports in Mongolian media alleging that he was the victim of a crime, which may have been related to his work as a snow leopard conservationist fighting to protect the cats’ habitat in the Tost Mountains, in Mongolia’s South Gobi province. We are following those reports closely and are standing ready, doing what we can to help his family get answers.

We have high respect for the Mongolian government and authorities. We have requested them to conduct a fair, thorough and transparent investigation into his death, and to help realize Sumbe’s dream of saving the snow leopards of Tost.

Sumbe loved to share his passion for nature with local kids
Sumbe loved to share his passion for nature with local kids

 

When water holes in the South Gobi froze over during a harsh winter, Sumbe carried several hundred pounds of ice up the mountain, so the animals would have enough to drink
When water holes in the South Gobi froze over during a harsh winter, Sumbe carried several hundred pounds of ice up the mountain, so the animals would have enough to drink

 

P1120667-Sumbee-looking-for-a-collar
Sumbe was a key researcher in our long-term snow leopard study in Mongolia’s South Gobi

 

Sumbe's outstanding contributions to snow leopard conservation will not be forgotten
Sumbe’s outstanding contributions to snow leopard conservation will not be forgotten

 

9 Comments

  1. RIP god bless him and his family.
    Great job done by sumbe for the snowleopard conservation .
    From rinchen ladakh
    Save wild save nature.

  2. Thank you, once again, for sharing his story along with your magnificent work for the snow leopard conservation.

    His family can be proud of him, though it will not bring him back – his actions may keep his memory alive.

    This story, these pictures tell a tale of compasion, selflessnes and sacrifice. If only the big cats knew…

    I hope for the sake of everyone, that justice will be served, because one can fear that a compassionate soul like Sumbe is enough to start something big; big enough to stand between Tost and the miningcompanies….

    I may never see a wild snow leopard. But the very thought, that they’re out there… makes me glad.

    Keep on doing what you do. And thank you all.

    Kind Regards

    Kris, Denmark

  3. From all of us at SLT, thanks, Rinchen, Kris, Sibylle and Hussain, for your kind words! It means the world to know that there is an entire community of snow leopard lovers out there thinking of Sumbe!

  4. I am saddened to learn of the world’s loss of such a wonderful person. My greatest admiration and thanks for his life. Also, thanks to all who work for justice in SLT

  5. So sad.. Once more we are witness to how dangerous wildlife conservation is, people who have no qualms about killing wildlife also (many times) have no issue with killing those who try to protect it. It is up to us to honor this man and his family, and all the men and women who have lost their lives around the world, by continuing his work, continuing to educate the public about wildlife and the habitat it needs. In the end it is a self serving fight – by saving the wildlife we are actually saving the planet and ourselves. Thank you Sumbe Tomorsukh, for giving your life to the snow leopards and our children’s future.

  6. I send my thoughts and prayers to you and Sumbe’s family. Such a very sad loss of one so young and so obviously dedicated to the preservation of the beautiful and endangered Snow Leopard. We lost our son when he was 21, so I have some idea of the terrible grief his family must be feeling now. Thank you for honoring him and for trying to help his family. And thank you for the wonderful work you do every day to save this iconic species. I will continue to keep all of you in my prayers.

  7. The beauty of this young man’s compassion, dedication and hard, good work is exquisite. All of us who love nature and these rare cats owe him a debt of gratitude. And to his family, I hope they receive justice, and peace from knowing their son will not be forgotten, even by those who never met him. We share your sorrow.

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