Title: Woolly flying squirrel Eupetaurus Cinereus: A new addition to the diet of snow leopard Panthera Uncia
Authors: Pal, R., Bhattacharya, T., Sathyakumar, S.
Title: Community participation in ecotourism and its effect on local perceptions of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) conservation
Authors: Vannelli, K., Hampton, M. P., Namgail, T., Black, S. A.
Abstract: Local support and involvement is often essential for effective wildlife conservation. This study assessed the impact of local involvement in ecotourism schemes on perceptions of wildlife, promotion of conservation action, types of values that communities placed on wildlife, and contexts in which wildlife are considered to be most valuable. The study used qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted in seven villages in Ladakh, India, which is an important region of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) habitat. Results indicated that in these communities, ecotourism-based interventions encourage more positive perceptions of wildlife species, in particular the snow leopard. Achieving change in community perceptions of wildlife is key when implementing ecotourism schemes to enable more effective conservation, as well as generating local awareness and value for wildlife toward problematic keystone species such as the snow leopard, which are frequently the focus of human-wildlife conflict.
Title: Modelling potential habitat for snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in Ladakh, India
Authors: Watts, S. W., McCarthy, T. M., Namgail, T.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia is an elusive species inhabiting some of the most remote and inaccessible tracts of Central and South Asia. It is difficult to determine its distribution and density pattern, which are crucial for developing conservation strategies. Several techniques for species detection combining camera traps with remote sensing and geographic information systems have been developed to model the habitat of such cryptic and low-density species in challenging terrains. Utilising presence-only data from camera traps and direct observations, alongside six environmental variables (elevation, aspect, ruggedness, distance to water, land cover, and prey habitat suitability), we assessed snow leopard habitat suitability across Ladakh in northern India. This is the first study to model snow leopard distribution both in India and utilising direct observation data. Results suggested that elevation and ruggedness are the two most influential environmental variables for snow leopard habitat suitability, with highly suitable habitat having an elevation range of 2,800 m to 4,600 m and ruggedness of 450 m to 1,800 m. Our habitat suitability map estimated approximately 12% of Ladakh’s geographical area (c. 90,000 km2) as highly suitable and 18% as medium suitability. We found that 62.5% of recorded livestock depredation along with over half of all livestock corrals (54%) and homestays (58%) occurred within highly suitable snow leopard habitat. Our habitat suitability model can be used to assist in allocation of conservation resources by targeting construction of livestock corrals to areas of high habitat suitability and promoting ecotourism programs in villages in highly suitable snow leopard habitat.