New Article to the Bibliography

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Title: Modeling Habitat Suitability of Snow Leopards in Yanchiwan National Reserve, China

Author: Ismaili, R. R. R., Peng, X., Li., Y, Ali, A., Ahmad, T., Rahman, A. U., Ahmad, S., Shi, K.

Abstract:  Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are elusive predators inhabiting high-altitude and mountainous rugged habitats. The current study was conducted in the Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve, Gansu Province, China, to assess the habitat suitability of snow leopards and identify key environmental factors inducing their distribution. Field data collected between 2019 and 2022 through scat sampling and camera trapping techniques provided insights into snow leopard habitat preferences. Spatial distribution and cluster analyses show distinct hotspots of high habitat suitability, mostly concentrated near mountainous landscapes. While altitude remains a critical determinant, with places above 3300 m showing increased habitat suitability, other factors such as soil type, human footprint, forest cover, prey availability, and human disturbance also play important roles. These variables influence ecological dynamics and are required to assess and manage snow leopard habitats.  The MaxEnt model has helped us to better grasp these issues, particularly the enormous impact of human activities on habitat suitability. The current study highlights the importance of altitude in determining snow leopard habitat preferences and distribution patterns in the reserve. Furthermore, the study underscores the significance of considering elevation in conservation planning and management strategies for snow leopards, particularly in mountainous regions. By combining complete environmental data with innovative modeling tools, this study not only improves local conservation efforts but also serves as a model for similar wildlife conservation initiatives around the world. By understanding the environmental factors driving snow leopard distribution, conservation efforts can be more efficiently directed to ensure the long-term survival of this endangered species. This study provides valuable insights for evidence-based conservation efforts to safeguard the habitats of snow
leopards amidst emerging anthropogenic pressure and environmental fluctuations.


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