New Article to the Bibliography


Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Engaging women brings conservation benefits to snow leopard landscapes

Author:    Alexander, J. S., Bijoor, A., Gurmet, K., Murali, R., Mishra, C., Suryawanshi, K. R.

Abstract:    Protection of biodiversity requires inclusive and gender-responsive programming. Evidence of success in engaging women in large carnivore conservation remains scarce, however, although women play an important role in caring for livestock at risk of predation and could contribute to large-carnivore conservation. We aimed to assess the performance of an income-generation and skills-building programme for women in Spiti Valley (India) that sought to engage women in local conservation action. Annual programme monitoring together with a one-time survey of attitudes, perceptions and social norms in eight communities exposed to the conservation programme and seven ‘control’ communities revealed: a keen interest and increasing levels of women’s participation over 7 years of programme operation; participant reports of multiple programme benefits including additional personal income, social networking and travel opportunities; and more positive attitudes towards snow leopard
 s among programme participants than among non-participants in the control communities. Women from programme communities recorded in their diaries 33 self-directed conservation actions including improving livestock protection and preventing wildlife poaching. These results show a way forward to purposively engage women in conservation programming towards achieving sustainable and equitable outcomes in efforts to promote carnivore–human coexistence.


New Article to the Bibliography


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.


New Article to the Bibliography


Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    A Case Study of the Snow Leopard in Sanjiangyuan National Park Boundaries regarding Park Boundary Divergence

Author:    Feng, X., Peng, Q., Chen, Y., Li, W.

Abstract:    This paper uses remote sensing data from the Sanjiangyuan National Park (SNP) to explore the divergence between the boundaries of national parks and the distribution of natural habitats. Results are used to argue that these discrepancies evolve along with the potential impact of global warming. Using the example of the habitat change of snow leopards and the conflicts between local people and snow leopards, we reflect on the consequences of this divergence. Results show that divergence between the political boundaries and natural habitats as well as the consequent influence on the living conditions of local people are strikingly visible, and the effects of global warming on such conflicts are apparent. The authors conclude that both notions of ‘political boundaries’ and ‘natural habitats’ are expected to come together as the SNP region is spatially configured, while ‘global warming’ seems to be relevant as an essential reference when delimiting the region in
 the future. Finally, the proposal for the establishment of cooperative conservation areas is presented,
emphasizing the role of cooperative governance in/around national parks.


New Article to the Bibliography


Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Analysis of Conservation Gaps and Landscape Connectivity for Snow Leopard in Qilian Mountains of China

Author:    Li, Y., Zhang, Y., Yadong, X., Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., Gao, Y. Li, D.

Abstract:    Human modification and habitat fragmentation have a substantial influence on large carnivores, which need extensive, contiguous habitats to survive in a landscape. The establishment of protected areas is an effective way to offer protection for carnivore populations by buffering them from anthropogenic impacts. In this study, we used MaxEnt to model habitat suitability and to identify conservation gaps for snow leopard (Panthera uncia) in the Qilian Mountains of China, and then assessed the impact of highways/railways and their corridors on habitat connectivity using a graph-based landscape connectivity model. Our results indicated that the study area had 51,137 km2 of potentially suitable habitat for snow leopards and that there were four protection gaps outside of Qilian Mountain National Park. The findings revealed that the investigated highway and railway resulted in a decrease in connectivity at a regional scale, and that corridor development might enhance regional connectivity, which strengthens the capacity of central habitat patches to act as stepping stones and improve connections between western and eastern habitat patches. This study emphasized the need for assessing the impact of highways and railways, as well as their role in corridor development, on species’ connectivity. Based on our results, we provide some detailed recommendations for designing protection action plans for effectively protecting snow leopard habitat and increasing habitat connectivity.





New Article to the Bibliography

Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Projected impacts of climate change on snow leopard habitat in Qinghai Province, China

Author:    Li,J., Xue, Y., Hacker, C. E., Zhang, Y., Li, Y., Cong, W., Jin, L., Li, G., Wu, B., Li, D., Zhang,Y.

Abstract:    Assessing species’ vulnerability to climate change is a prerequisite for developing effective strategies to reduce emerging climate-related threats. We used the maximum entropy algorithm (MaxEnt model) to assess potential changes in suitable snow leopard (Panthera uncia) habitat in Qinghai Province, China, under a mild climate change scenario. Our results showed that the area of suitable snow leopard habitat in Qinghai Province was 302,821 km2 under current conditions and 228,997 km2 under the 2050s climatic scenario, with a mean upward shift in elevation of 90 m. At present, nature reserves protect 38.78% of currently suitable habitat and will protect 42.56% of future suitable habitat. Current areas of climate refugia amounted to 212,341 km2 and are mainly distributed in the Sanjiangyuan region, Qilian mountains, and surrounding areas. Our results provide valuable information for formulating strategies to meet future conservation challenges brought on by climate stress. We suggest that conservation efforts in Qinghai Province should focus on protecting areas of climate refugia and on maintaining or building corridors when planning for future species management.


New Article to the Bibliography


Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Predicting carnivore habitat use and livestock depredation risk with false-positive multi-state occupancy models

Author:    Kachel, S., Anderson, K., Shokirov, Q.

Abstract:    The cycle of livestock depredation and retaliatory killing constitutes a major threat to large carnivores worldwide and imposes considerable hardships on human communities. Mitigation efforts are often undertaken with little knowledge of ecological underpinnings and patterns of depredation, limiting conservationists’ ability to develop, prioritize, and evaluate solutions. Carnivore detection and depredation data from interviews in affected communities may help address this gap, but such data are often prone to false-positive uncertainty. To address these challenges in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan we collected snow leopard, lynx, wolf, and bear detection and depredation reports from local communities via semi-structured interviews. We used a novel hierarchical multi-species multi-state occupancy model that accounted for potential false-positives to investigate carnivore site use and depredation concurrently with respondents’ apparent vulnerability to that risk. Estimated false-positive probabilities were small, but failure to account for them overstated site use probabilities and depredation risk for all species. Although individual vulnerability was low, depredation was nonetheless commonplace. Carnivore site use was driven by clear habitat associations, but we did not identify any clearly important large-scale spatial correlates of depredation risk despite considerable spatial variation in that risk. Respondents who sheltered livestock in household corrals reinforced with wire mesh were less likely to report snow leopard depredations. Reducing depredation and retaliation at adequately large scales in the Pamirs will likely require a portfolio of species-specific strategies, including widespread proactive corral improvements. Our approach expanded inference on the often-cryptic processes surrounding human-carnivore conflict even though structured wildlife data were scarce.


New Article to the Bibliography


Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Predator niche overlap and partitioning and potential interactions in the mountains of Central Asia

Author:    Kachel, S. M., Karimov, K., Wirsing, A. J.

Abstract:    Direct and indirect interactions among predators affect predator fitness, distribution, and overall community structure. Yet, outside of experimental settings, such interactions are difficult to observe and thus poorly understood. Patterns of niche overlap among predators reflect and shape community interactions and may therefore help elucidate the nature and intensity of intraguild interactions. To better understand the coexistence of two apex predators, snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and wolves (Canis lupus), we investigated their spatial, temporal, and dietary niche overlap in summer in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. We estimated population- level space use via spatial capture–recapture models based on noninvasive genetics and camera traps, diel activity patterns based on camera trap detections, and diet composition from prey remains in carnivore scats, from which we estimated coefficients between 0 and 1 for overlap in space, time, and diet, respectively. Snow
 leopards and wolves displayed moderate spatial partitioning (0.26, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.17–37), but overlapping temporal (0.77, 95% CI: 0.64–0.90) and dietary (0.97, 95% CI: 0.80–0.99) niches. Both predators relied on seasonally abundant marmots (Marmota caudata) rather than wild ungulates, their typical primary prey, suggesting that despite patterns of overlap that were superficially conducive to exploitation competition and predator facilitation, prey were likely not a limiting factor. Therefore, prey-mediated interactions, if present, were unlikely to be a major structuring force in the ecosystem. By implication, carnivore conservation planning and monitoring in the mountains of Central Asia should more fully account for the seasonal importance of marmots in the ecosystem.





Module 8: Environmentally and Socially responsible Tourism in Snow Leopard Landscapes

Photo by Behzad Larry

About the module 

Tourism across the snow leopard range is growing rapidly. It is taking different forms in different settings and if managed effectively could be an opportunity to support or strengthen conservation efforts. However, tourism also may represent a threat to these fragile landscapes. 

The aim of this module is to create a platform to discuss principles that could be used to inform and facilitate environmentally and socially responsible tourism in snow leopard habitats. This includes how we define ‘conservation centered tourism’; considering social and environmental impacts; and how tourism can under certain circumstances be an effective conservation tool. The module brings together expertise from past, ongoing and planned tourism models from across the snow leopard range. This will allow us to showcase and discuss different facets of tourism and ways to maximize conservation potential. We recognise the experience of many SLN members in this area and encourage them to join us in this effort by contributing their own experiences and ideas.   

During the module participants will work with the facilitators to discuss and develop principles and a working framework that could guide responsible tourism in different settings. By the end of the course it is hoped that participants will be exposed to a broad set of perspectives and have had the opportunity to contribute to ideas and tools directed towards such goals. 

This module is being organised thanks to the support of the GSLEP Program  , Snow Leopard Foundation-Pakistan and PSLEP. Range country governments have highlighted how tourism is increasing across the snow leopard range and there is a need to identify ways to assess trade-offs and find ways to leverage conservation goals (GSLEP doc). We hope that these discussions will contribute toward these goals.

Dates of sessions

    • February 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd 2021
    • Tuesdays 14:00- 16:00 Bishkek time.  

Draft Outline Schedule

    • Session 1: Tourism as a conservation tool?
    • Session 2: Community conservation & tourism
    • Session 3: Risks and opportunities
    • Session 4: Shaping relevant framework(s)
Photo by Behzad Larry
Photo by ShanShui Conservation Center

Meet the Resource Team 

Ajay Bijoor supports conservation efforts in the regions of Ladakh and Spiti valley in India. Over the last eight years, he has worked on setting up, running and monitoring community-conservation efforts in these regions. This effort aims at trying to create conditions conducive for conservation. More recently he has also been facilitating the process of building capacity for community-based conservation in snow leopard range countries. 

Behzad Larry is the CEO of Voygr Expeditions and a founding member of the High Asia Habitat Fund. An avid explorer, Behzad specializes in documenting the remote reaches of the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Voygr (pronounced voyager) operates guided tours along the ancient Silk Route in Central Asia, the Russian Far-East, the towering Himalayas, and North India. Voygr’s journeys combine the best of ancient cultures and living history, with phenomenal wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes. Voygr specialises in conservation based tourism (cultural and environmental) and is the world’s leading ethical snow leopard tour operator. 

Ismail is an internationally featured nature and wildlife photographer and fine art printmaker who comes from from Hyderabad, India. His background was originally in Project Management and Entrepreneurship. “I aspire to make uncommon images with common subjects and my creative and emotional affinity towards nature is what drives me to capture wildlife images in an artistic manner. While the photographer community calls me the “Snow Leopard Man” for my good fortune of pursuing and documenting the rarest and most challenging of wild cats of India, at heart, I identify as a conservationist photographer. I believe in learning about the ground realities of the ecosystem first hand. My way of contributing to the cause of conservation is primarily through exhibiting and fundraising to support organisations like the Snow Leopard Network, Snow Leopard Trust and Fishing Cat Conservancy.”

Joanna Van Gruisen has lived in the subcontinent since the late 1970s. A wildlife documentary filmmaker and early pioneer of wildlife photography in India, she spent many years in J&K and Ladakh as photographer and as assistant organiser of Earthwatch volunteer tourism groups. As a wildlife photographer and writer on environment issues she has been at the heart of conservation in India for several decades. She now co-owns and runs a small eco lodge in central India and is a founder member of a trust, Baavan – bagh aap aur van, that is developing a conservation tourism project with the community in a remote area beyond the boundary of the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Dr. Raghu Chundawat started his career as a conservation biologist more than thirty years ago with research on snow leopard in Ladakh. Later, he worked as Regional Science and Conservation Director for the International Snow Leopard Trust. He was a member of the teaching faculty of the Wildlife Institute of India. He is very closely involved with tiger conservation and research in a dry tropical forest of central India and recently published a book based on his ten-year study there “The Rise and Fall of The Emerald Tigers”. For the last eight years, he has been active in wildlife tourism research. He is the recipient of several conservation awards. In 2003 BBC/Animal Planet produced an award-winning wildlife documentary film on his work with the Tigers in Panna − “Tigers of the Emerald Forest”.

Terry Townshend is a Beijing-based conservation and climate change expert with specific expertise on legislation and wildlife conservation in China. In 2018 he became a Fellow of the Paulson Institute, advising their conservation programme, and in 2019 I was invited by the Beijing Municipal government to be a consultant on a project to “rewild” Beijing. In 2017, in partnership with Chinese NGO ShanShui Conservation Center, he devised and helped to set up a community-based wildlife watching tourism project with yak herders on the Tibetan Plateau, focusing on snow leopards. The herders were awarded the first community-based tourism concession for a National Park in China, informing policy development for China’s national park system, and in 2020, were awarded second prize in the Nature Stewardship category of the coveted Paulson Prize.

Yuhan Li is a conservationist from China. She is a Rhodes Scholar and a MPhil candidate at the University of Oxford. Her current research involves analysing public perceptions around the illegal trade of jaguar in Latin America, and wild meat consumption in China and central Africa. Before going to Oxford, she was a trainee of Shanshui Conservation Centre and managed the field station in the Sanjiangyuan National Park. She coordinated several community-based snow leopard conservation projects, such as human-wildlife conflict solution and snow leopard eco-tourism. 

Dr. Ali Nawaz has 20 years of field research experience, spanning over diverse geographical regions in Pakistan, and has 35 scientific articles and over 30 management reports to his credit. His primary focus is on understanding ecology, co-existence, and conservation issues of the carnivore community in northern Pakistan. Dr Nawaz has worked intensively with the mountainous communities in alleviating human-carnivore conflicts and promoting acceptance of large carnivores. In recognition of Dr. Nawaz’s efforts to protect the endangered snow leopard in the mountains of northern Pakistan, HRH The Princess Royal presented him the 2016 Whitley Award, a prestigious international nature conservation prize. Dr. Nawaz holds a PhD in ecology and natural resource management from University of Life Sciences Norway, and has rich exposure to various wildlife field techniques, and is trained in animal capturing, marking and telemetry, and GIS and remote sensing.

The module will also be supported by GSLEP and SLN’s Koustubh Sharma, Justine Shanti Alexander, Ranjini Murali and Rakhee Karumbaya .

Criteria for participation

    • Snow Leopard Network Member
    • Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
    • Experience of working on snow leopard conservation or Tourism or concrete plans to be involved in such efforts is welcome and we encourage participants to contribute ideas and experiences. 
    • Number of participants is limited to 20-30

Planned Schedule

    • 2 hour online Zoom Seminars take place every Tuesday of the month, February 2021 (4 Seminars; Feb 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd) at 14:00- 16:00 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan time
    • Please note we encourage participants to attend the complete set of Seminars as they are interconnected and build on each other


    • Applications close Thursday, January 28th, 2021. 
    • Please note places are limited so please do not delay in applying.
    • Application link here
Photo by Behzad Larry

Publication Alert – New Article to the Bibliography

Please see details below, of a new article added to our Bibliography.

Title: Patterns of Livestock Depredation and Large Carnivore
Conservation Implications in the Indian Trans-Himalaya

Authors: Maheshwari, A., Sathyakumar, S.

Abstract:  Livestock is one of the major sources of livelihood for the
agro-pastoral communities in central and south Asia. Livestock
depredation by large carnivores is a wide-ranging issue that leads to
economic losses and a deviance from co-existence. We investigated the
grass root factors causing livestock depredation in Kargil, Ladakh and
tested the findings of diet analysis in validating reported livestock
depredation. Globally vulnerable snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and more
common wolf (Canis lupus) were the two main wild predators. A total of
1113 heads of livestock were reportedly killed by wolf (43.6%) followed
by unknown predators (31.4%) and snow leopard (21.5%) in the study site
from 2009 to 2012, which comes to 2.8% annual livestock losses. Scat
analysis also revealed a significant amount of livestock in the diet of
snow leopard (47%) and wolf (51%). Poor livestock husbandry practices
and traditional livestock corrals were found to be the major drivers
contributing in the livestock depredation. Based on the research
findings, we worked with the local communities to sensitize them about
wildlife conservation and extended limited support for predator proof
livestock corrals at a small scale. Eventually it helped in reducing
conflict level and conserving the globally threatened carnivores. We
conclude that a participatory approach has been successful to generate
an example in reducing large carnivore-human conflict in the west


SLN Training Initiative – Ungulate Surveys – Module 2

The Snow Leopard Network is launching its first on line research and conservation training course. These consist of a series of modules, each over a one month period, in which participants build their skills and knowledge on a range of critical snow leopard related conservation tools. Do join us!

Our first set of topics centers on the idea of a holistic approach for snow leopard practitioners- from survey methods to community conservation approaches. The idea is for these to be as practical as possible, explicitly designed, for teams on the ground. The first set of Modules will cover topics that include: Camera Trapping surveys (Module 1); Prey Surveys (Module 2); Community Conservation approaches (Module 3); and Socio-economic Assessments (Module 4). See more details here.

Each Module will be delivered over a one month period and members can apply to specific Modules depending on your interest. Teaching methods will be a mix of online and distance learning; all will be open access. Our trainers are drawn from the Snow Leopard Network, drawing on their extensive knowledge and experience. We are very appreciative of their finding time to join us in this effort and we look forward to members taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity.  

Today we are pleased to invite SLN members to apply and take part in Module 2 of this training initiative- which will take place in August. Module 2 will focus on surveys for assessing ungulate populations (snow
leopard prey). The application will be open for future Modules one month prior to their start, so please stay tuned.

Module 2: Studying the Mountain Monarchs of High Asia.

Course Content

Asia’s mountain ungulates- also known as the Mountain Monarchs of high Asia- play an important role in maintaining ecosystems by influencing vegetation structure and nutrient cycling. These include Argali (Ovis ammon), Blue Sheep (Pseudois nayaur), Asiatic Ibex (Capra sibirica), Urial (Ovis orientalis) and Markhor (Capra falconeri). However, owing to their remote mountainous habitats and associated challenges in sampling, there is a lack of information regarding their abundance, population trends and ecology. There is a need for more information about the population status of these ungulates, which carries special significance in the protection of the snow leopard across its range. Our Module 2 aims to equip participants with the knowledge and tools to plan and carry out robust mountain ungulate surveys using the Double-observer Method. We will also dive into understanding the fascinating ecology of these species based on the latest research. The module will be divided into 4 parts and cover key concepts from planning surveys, conducting them, analysing data, and using outcomes for conservation action, publication and/or policy. Alongside we will have fascinating talks by subject experts, sharing their experiences and outputs. This is critical as conservation status assessment of any species requires rigorous monitoring of their abundances, which done over time, can provide knowledge of population trends.

Participants will be expected to have the Software R
( and RStudio downloaded and setup on
computer. Additionally we recommend the installation of Google Earth Pro and/or other GIS software such as QGIS (

Meet the Trainers

This module has been co-created by a team of researchers and practitioners from across the snow leopard range, including India, Pakistan, Mongolia and China. The live training sessions will be led by a subset of this team. Additional special guests may also be invited to share their expertise.

Munib Khanyari is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Bristol and Oxford University in the UK. He works on understanding factors that affect mountain ungulate populations in Central and South Asia. 

Hussain Ali, is the Regional Project Manager for the Pakistan Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program (PSLEP) and a Manager with Snow Leopard Foundation- Pakistan.

Purevjav (Puji) Lkhagvajav is a Research and Monitoring Managers for the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, Mongolia. She has over 15 years of working in snow leopard conservation and research in Mongolia.

Chagsadulam (Chagsaa) Odonjavkhlan is a PhD Candidate with Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, Mongolia and has been studying Argali and Ibex in the Tost mountains of Mongolia.

Lingyun Xiao is currently a Postdoc research fellow at the Peking University and scientific consultant of the ShanShui Conservation Center, China. She completed her PhD on understanding grassland, ungulate and snow leopard dependence in 2017.

Together the module co-creators have worked to protect and studied mountain ungulates including Argali, Asiatic Ibex, Blue Sheep, Markhor and Urial across India, Pakistan, Mongolia, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Criteria for participation
•      Snow Leopard Network Member
•      Experience or willingness to work on mountain ungulate and snow leopard conservation
•      Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
•      Number of participants is limited to 40
•      Priority will be given to participants from snow leopard range

Planned Schedule
•       2 hour online Zoom Seminars take place every Wednesday of the month, August
2020 (4 Seminars; Aug 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th) at 14:00 Bishkek,
Kyrgyzstan time
•       Additional group work, assignments or readings are likely to be
organized by the trainers
•       Please note we expect all participants to attend the complete set of
Wednesday Seminars as they are interconnected and build on each other
•       Details of each specific Seminar topic will be shared approximately 5 days beforehand; including any expected preparations by participants.

Deadline for Applications
•      Friday, July 15th, 2020. Please note places are limited so please do
not delay in applying.
•     We are now closed for Application. Please apply for Module 3 which will be open on August 1st.