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Helen Freeman, a Rare Character

Helen Freeman and a snow leopard cub

Helen Freeman, a Rare Character

It all started with Nicholas and Alexandra, two wild snow leopards acquired from the Soviet Union, who were kept in captivity at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.


Helen Freeman, the late founder of the Snow Leopard Trust, was volunteering at the zoo in 1972, when she was first introduced to the big cats. The two snow leopards fascinated her and she began to spend numerous hours watching their behaviour in captivity.


It was here that her love of snow leopards began, one that would absorb her until the day she died. Recognising the zoo’s evident lack of knowledge and therefore lack of proper care for the leopards, Freeman made it her life’s mission to educate herself and others on the plight of this rare species.


She enrolled to study Zoology at University in her 40s, returning thereafter to Woodland Park Zoo to become Curator of Education. This saw her carry out extensive behavioural analysis of snow leopards to educate zoos on care of this unusual species. She also developed the highly successful breeding program ‘Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan’ to ensure new zoo inhabitants were not taken from the wild again. 


 “What I had expected to be a short term study of two snow leopards had turned into a lifetime commitment. I went from watching Nicholas and Alexandra in a zoo to searching what could be done to help the species in the wild.” – Helen Freeman.


In 1981, she founded the Snow Leopard Trust, the leading conservation body for snow leopards. They have relief efforts in China, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, and Pakistan and aim to protect the lives of over 75% of the world’s population of wild snow leopards.


Freeman was ground-breaking in her insistence to help the people living in snow leopard habitats in exchange for assistance in protecting the animals. This is a practice that the Trust still carries out today. 


Freeman died in 2007 from lung disease at age 75. She is survived by her husband Stanley and two sons. Her legacy at the Snow Leopard Trust is continued by the programs and people who work diligently to protect these incredible cats from extinction.


Have you been involved with the Snow Leopard Trust? Tell us your experience using the hashtag #GreatVodkaForGood



15% of all Snow Leopard Vodka profits go directly to Snow Leopard Conservation projects. Use the hashtag #GreatVodkaForGood and help us spread the word.



Snow Leopard Vodka is perfect for a classic martini, served on the rocks and in premium cocktails.

Snow Leopard Trust

The Snow Leopard Trust is the world's largest organization in the study and protection of the endangered Snow Leopard. 15% of all our profits go directly to the Trust to help them on their mission.

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