New Article to the Bibliography


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Title:    Snow leopards and prey in Rolwaling Valley, Gaurishankar Conservation Area, Nepal

Author:    Pandey, B. P., Thami, S., Shrestha, R., Subedi, N., Chalise, M. K., Ale, S. B.

Abstract:    The snow leopard Panthera uncia, an apex predator of the Himalayan ecosystem, often shares habitat with the wolf, Canis lupus, red fox Vulpes vulpes, and other carnivores. A biodiversity monitoring programme primarily focused on the assessment of the status of snow leopard and its prey in Rolwaling valley of Gaurishankar Conservation Area, Nepal, was carried out during June–November 2019. We deployed single camera traps in each of twelve grids sized 16 km2 each, operated 24 hours, and left alone for the whole study period. A single snow leopard was captured thrice on same camera in Rhododendron anthopogon-Hippophae thibetana scrubland, near Tsho Rolpa glacial lake (4,536 m). Alongwith snow leopard, wolves were also photographed at three sites namely Yelung pass (4,956 m), Tsho Rolpa (4,536 m) and Dudhkunda ridgeline (5,091 m). The red fox was the most frequent predator in Rolwaling while stone marten Martes foina, yellow-throated marten Martes flabigula, and yellow-belied weasel Mustella katiyah were captured occasionally. Photo capture rate index PCRI per 100 trap nights was calculated for all identifiable species where snow leopard and wolf had PCRI values of 0.35 and 0.71, respectively. The Cumulative PCRI values suggest a pyramid shaped community structure in Rolwaling with small herbivores (including game birds) with broad base (PCRI 22.29) followed by large herbivores (10.38) and small-medium sized carnivores (6.96). The top predators (snow leopard and wolf) produces 1.06 photographic rate index. The declaration of Gaurishankar conservation area and continuous efforts from conservation area management committees, strict cultural rules from local Buddhist community in the valley are found possibly favoured the recolonization of the wolf and frequent visits by snow leopard.



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