Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:
Title: How Snow Leopards Share the Same Landscape with Tibetan Agro-pastoral Communities in the Chinese Himalayas
Author: Xiao, C., Bai, D., Lambert, J. P., Li, Y., Cering, L., Gong, Z., Riordan, P., Shi, K.
Abstract: The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) inhabits a human-altered alpine landscape and is often tolerated by residents in regions where the dominant religion is Tibetan Buddhism, including in Qomolangma NNR on the northern side of the Chinese Himalayas. Despite these positive attitudes, many decades of rapid economic development and population growth can cause increasing disturbance to the snow leopards, altering their habitat use patterns and ultimately impacting their conservation. We adopted a dynamic landscape ecology perspective and used multi-scale technique and occupancy model to better understand snow leopard habitat use and coexistence with humans in an 825 km2 communal landscape. We ranked eight hypothetical models containing potential natural and anthropogenic drivers of habitat use and compared them between summer and winter seasons within a year. HABITAT was the optimal model in winter, whereas ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCE was the top ranking in summer (AICcw≤2). Overall, model performance was better in the winter than in the summer, suggesting that perhaps some latent summer covariates were not measured. Among the individual variables, terrain ruggedness strongly affected snow leopard habitat use in the winter, but not in the summer. Univariate modeling suggested snow leopards prefer to use rugged land in winter with a broad scale (4000 m focal radius) but with a lesser scale in summer (30 m); Snow leopards preferred habitat with a slope of 22° at a scale of 1000 m throughout both seasons, which is possibly correlated with prey occurrence. Furthermore, all covariates mentioned above showed inextricable ties with human activities (presence of settlements and grazing intensity). Our findings show that multiple sources of anthropogenic activity have complex connections with snow leopard habitat use, even under low human density when anthropogenic activities are sparsely distributed across a vast landscape. This study is also valuable for habitat
use research in the future, especially regarding covariate selection for finite sample sizes in inaccessible terrain.