Publication Alert – New Article to Bibliography

Title: Diachronic monitoring of snow leopards at Sarychat-Ertash State
Reserve (Kyrgyzstan) through scat genotyping: a pilot study

Authors: Rode, J., Pelletier, A., Fumey, J., Rode, S., Cabanat, A. L.,
Ouvrard, A., Chaix, B., White, B., Harnden, M., Xuan, N. T., Vereshagin,
A., Casane, D.

Abstract:Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are a keystone species of
Central Asia’s high mountain ecosystem. The species is listed as
vulnerable and is elusive, preventing accurate population assessments
that could inform conservation actions. Non-invasive genetic monitoring
conducted by citizen scientists offers avenues to provide key data on
this species that would otherwise be inaccessible. From 2011 to 2015,
OSI-Panthera citizen science expeditions tracked signs of presence of
snow leopards along transects in the main valleys and crests of the
Sarychat-Ertash State Reserve (Kyrgyzstan). Scat samples were genotyped
at seven autosomal microsatellite loci and at a X/Y locus for sex
identification, which allowed estimating a minimum of 11 individuals
present in the reserve from 2011 to 2015. The genetic recapture of 7 of
these individuals enabled diachronic monitoring, providing indications
of individuals’ movements throughout the reserve. We found putative
family relationships between several individuals. Our results
demonstrate the potential of this citizen science program to get a
precise description of a snow leopard population through time.


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