SLN Webinar: Building and exchanging capacities in snow leopard research and conservation

In 2022 two projects in India and Kyrgyzstan were supported by the Snow Leopard Network Training Grants Program:

“Volunteers for Nature: Developing and training local volunteers for nature education” led by Deepshikha Sharma and team from the Nature Conservation Foundation.

“Enhancing conservation awareness among youth through school visits by local rangers in Osh Oblast, Kyrgyzstan” led by Fatima Mannapbekova and colleagues from Panthera.

SLN invites you to a discussion with our 2022 Grantees to learn more about their projects and the lessons learned. We will ask our guests to share more about- What was achieved? What were the challenges and opportunities encountered in the implementation of the project? What did the teams learn that could help others wishing to do similar projects? How do teams see the results being applied to conservation? We will then open up the discussion with the audience to discuss effective and respectful strategies for building and exchanging capacities in snow leopard research and conservation among key stakeholders. 

SLN has just announced the 2023 call for applications. Come ask our 2022 Grantees questions about their projects and help potential 2023 applicants address any queries. The SLN Training Grant is made possible through the support of the Pangje Foundation, an SLN member organisation dedicated to protecting snow leopards and helping local communities. The specific goal of the grant centres around building capacities in snow leopard research and conservation among grassroot stakeholders

Date/Time

Thursday, 09 February, 2023 at 14:00pm Bishkek time

Location

ZOOM, to join this talk, REGISTER HERE

 Please note

  • If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
  • Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
  • Please note that the session will be recorded and later featured on the SLN website. If you have concerns about this please let us know before the session.

New Article to the Bibliography

 

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

Title: Research trends and management options in human-snow leopard conflict

Author: Rashid, W., Shi, J., Rahim, I. U., Dong, S., Ahmad, L.

Abstract: Conservation of the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is challenging because of its threatened status and increase in human-snow leopard conflict (HSC). The area of occupancy of the snow leopard comprises mountainous regions of Asia that are confronted with various environmental pressures including climate change. HSCs have increased with a burgeoning human population and economic activities that enhance competition between human and snow leopard or its preys. Here we systematically review the peer-reviewed literature from 1994 to 2018 in Web of Science, Google Scholar, Science Direct and PubMed (30 articles), to evaluate the current state of scholarship about HSCs and their management. We determine: 1) the spatio-temporal distribution of relevant researches; 2) the methodologies to assess HSCs; 3) and evaluate existing interventions for conflict management; and 4) the potential options for HSC management. The aim of the current study is thus to identify key research gaps and future research requirements. Of the articles in this review, 60% evaluated the mitigation of HSCs, while only 37% provided actionable and decisive results. Compensation programs and livestock management strategies had high success rates for mitigating HSCs through direct or community-managed interventions. Further research is required to evaluate the efficacy of existing HSC mitigation strategies, many of which, while recommended, lack proper support. In spite of the progress made in HSC studies, research is needed to examine ecological and sociocultural context of HSCs. We suggest future work focus on rangeland management for HSC mitigation, thus ultimately fostering a co-existence between human and snow leopard.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1716

New Article to the Bibliography

 

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

Title:    Human expertise combined with artificial intelligence improves performance of snow leopard camera trap studies

Author:   Bohnett, E., Faryabi, S. P., Lewison, R., An, L., Bian, X., Rajabi, A. M., Jahed, N., Rooyesh, H., Mills, E., Ramos, S., Mesnildrey, N., Perez, C. M. S., Taylor, J., Terentyev, V., Ostrowski, S.

Abstract:    Camera trapping is the most widely used data collection method for estimating snow leopard (Panthera uncia) abundance; however, the accuracy of this method is limited by human observer errors from misclassifying individuals in camera trap images. We evaluated the extent Whiskerbook (www.whiskerbook.org), an artificial intelligence (AI) software, could reduce this error rate and enhance the accuracy of capture-recapture abundance estimates. Using 439 images of 34 captive snow leopard individuals, classification was performed by five observers with prior experience in individual snow leopard ID (“experts”) and five observers with no such experience (“novices”). The “expert” observers classified 35 out of 34 snow leopard individuals, on average erroneously splitting one individual into two, thus resulting in a higher number than true individuals. The success rate of experts was 90 %, with less than a 3 % error in estimating the population size in capture-recapture modeling. However, the “novice” observers successfully matched 71 % of encounters, recognizing 25 out of 34 individuals, underestimating the population by 25 %. It was found that expert observers significantly outperformed novice observers, making statistically fewer errors (Mann Whitney U test P = 0.01) and finding the true number of individuals (P = 0.01). These differences were contrasted with a previous study by Johansson et al. 2020, using the same subset of 16 individuals from European zoos. With the help of AI and the Whiskerbook platform, “experts” were able to match 87 % of encounters and identify 15 out of 16 individuals, with modeled estimates of 16 ± 1 individuals. In contrast, “novices” were 63 % accurate in matching encounters and identified 12 out of 16 individuals, modeling 12 ± 1 individuals that underestimated the population size by 12 %. When comparing the performance of observers using AI and the Whiskerbook platform to observers performing the tasks manually, we found that observers using Whiskerbook made significantly fewer errors in splitting one individual into two (P = 0.04). However, there were also a significantly higher number of combination errors, where two individuals were combined into one (P = 0.01). Specifically, combination errors were found to be made by “novices” (P = 0.04). Although AI benefited both expert and novice observers, expert observers outperformed novices. Our results suggest that AI effectively reduced the misclassification of individual snow leopards in camera trap studies, improving abundance estimates. However, even with AI support, expert observers were needed to obtain the most accurate estimates.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1715

 

New Article to the Bibliography

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

Title: A review of the ecological and socioeconomic characteristics of trophy hunting across Asia

Author: Parker, B. G., Khanyari, M., Ambarli, H., Buuveibaatar, B., Kabir, M., Khanal, G., Mirzadeh, H. R., Onon, Y., Farhadinia, M. S.

Abstract: The continuing debates about trophy hunting should be underpinned by an understanding of at least the basic characteristics of the practice (e.g. species, quotas, areas, prices). Whilst many countries in Asia have established trophy hunting programmes of considerable importance to conservation and local livelihoods, there remains some ambiguity over the extent of trophy hunting in Asia as its basic characteristics in each country have not been compiled. In this study, we compile information on various ecological and socioeconomic characteristics of trophy hunting of mammals for countries across Asia by reviewing published and unpublished literature, analysing trade data, and obtaining contributions from in-country contacts. Across Asia, established trophy hunting programmes exist in at least 11 countries and target at least 30 species and one hybrid (incl., five Vulnerable and one Endangered species). Trophy hunting in these countries varies markedly in areas (e.g. >1 mi
llion km2 in Kazakhstan, 37% of country, vs. 1325 km2 in Nepal, <1% of country) and annual offtakes (e.g. Kazakhstan: 4500 individuals from 4 of 5 trophy species; Pakistan: 229 from 4 of 7; Mongolia: 155 from 6 of 9; Tajikistan: 126 from 3 of 6; Nepal: 22 from 3 of the 4 that are trophy hunted in practice). Permit prices also vary across species and countries, with domestic and international hunters sometimes charged different rates. Hunters from the USA appear overwhelmingly prominent among international clients. National legislations typically mandate a proportion of trophy hunting revenue to accrue locally (range: 40–100%). We provide five key recommendations for research to inform trophy hunting policy in Asia: (1) Ecological impact assessments; (2) Socioeconomic impact assessments; (3) Evaluations of the contributions of trophy hunting to conservation spending; (4) Evaluations of the contributions of trophy hunting to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework; (5) Further e
xaminations of perceptions of trophy hunting.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1714

Perceptions of carnivore management interventions in Sweden and wildlife conflicts from the perspective of the individual.

Large carnivores are known to evoke strong emotions. These can influence consensus or social interactions between people promoting wildlife conservation and people who suffer from its negative consequences. Conservation interventions that aim to prevent or mitigate carnivore attacks on domestic animals are intended to promote coexistence between people and carnivores. These however risk failing if they do not also address fear and social conflicts and emotions/perspectives of intervention end users.

SLN is pleased to invite Ann Eklund, a researcher in Environmental Psychology, to lead this webinar. Anne shares examples of conservation interventions in Sweden, present how these interventions may be perceived by the intended end users, and discusses the potential that interventions may or may not have to promote co-existence. Orjan Johansson, SLN’s Steering Committee member facilitates the discussion around this exchange of learnings. 

 

New Article to the Bibliography

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

Title: Factors shaping the tolerance of local Tibetan herders toward snow leopards

Author: Piaopiao, T., Suryawanshi, K. R., Lingyun, X., Mishra, C., Zhi, L., Alexander, J. S.

Abstract: Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) have long co-existed with livestock herding people across Asia’s high mountains. Multiple use landscapes however imply potential competition for shared resources, livestock predation, and the risk of retaliatory killing of predators. Community-based conservation is a central pillar for supporting people’s livelihoods and safeguarding predators and their habitat. Based on the theory of planned behavior, we examined the factors that shape herders’ tolerance of snow leopards. Our questionnaire-based study was conducted in the Sanjiangyuan Region, China, encompassing four communities with varying livelihoods, experiences with live- stock depredation and levels of exposure to community conservation interventions. Our results showed that respondents generally held positive views towards snow leopards, although women tended to have relatively more negative views towards snow leopards compared with men. Current household income was largely de
pendent on caterpillar fungus rather than livestock. Social norms around religion and the role of community leaders in our study area seemed to be the main determinants of the generally benign association of people with wildlife, overshadowing potential influences of community-based conservation interventions. Our work suggests that conservations programs will be aided through collaborations with communities and religious institutions, and that conservationists must proactively engage with women as significant actors in conservation.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1713

New Article to the Bibliography

 

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

Title: Guidelines for Telemetry Studies on Snow Leopards

Author: Johansson, O., Kachel, S., Weckworth, B.

Abstract: Animal-borne tracking devices have generated a wealth of new knowledge, allowing us to better understand, manage and conserve species. Fitting such tracking devices requires that animals are captured and often chemically immobilized. Such procedures cause stress and involve the risk of injuries and loss of life even in healthy individuals. For telemetry studies to be justifiable, it is vital that capture operations are planned and executed in an efficient and ethical way. Project objectives must be clearly articulated to address well-defined knowledge gaps, and studies designed to maximize the probability of achieving those goals. We provide guidelines for how to plan, design, and implement telemetry studies with a special emphasis on snow leopards that are typically captured using foot snares. We also describe the necessary steps to ensure that captures are conducted safely, and with minimal stress to animals.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1712

New Article to the Bibliography

 

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

Title: Body measurements of free-ranging snow leopards across their range

Author: Johansson, O., Agvaantseren, B., Jackson, R., Kachel, S., Kubanychbekov, Z., McCarthy, T., Mishra, C., Ostrowski, S., Kulenbekov, R., Rajabi, A. M., Subba, S.

Abstract: We provide body measurements of snow leopards collected from 55 individuals sampled in five of the major mountain ranges within the species distribution range; the Altai, Hindu Kush, Himalayas, Pamirs and Tien Shan mountains. Snow leopards appear to be similarly sized across their distribution range with mean body masses of 36 kg and 42 kg for adult females and adult males, respectively. In contrast to other large felids, we found little variation in body size and body mass between the sexes; adult males were on average 5% longer and 15% heavier than adult females.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1711

New Article to the Bibliography

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

Title: Seasonal variation in daily activity patterns of snow leopards and their prey

Author: Johansson, O., Mishra, C., Chapron, G., Samelius, G., Lkhagvajav, P., McCarthy, T., Low, M.

Abstract: The daily and seasonal activity patterns of snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are poorly understood, limiting our ecological understanding and hampering our ability to mitigate threats such as climate change and retaliatory killing in response to livestock predation. We fitted GPS-collars with activity loggers to snow leopards, Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica: their main prey), and domestic goats (Capra hircus: common livestock prey) in Mongolia between 2009 and 2020. Snow leopards were facultatively nocturnal with season-specific crepuscular activity peaks: seasonal activity shifted towards night- sunrise during summer, and day-sunset in winter. Snow leopard activity was in contrast to their prey, which were consistently diurnal. We interpret these results in relation to: (1) darkness as concealment for snow leopards when stalking in an open landscape (nocturnal activity), (2) low-intermediate light preferred for predatory ambush in steep rocky terrain (dawn and dusk activit
y), and (3) seasonal activity adjustments to facilitate thermoregulation in an extreme environment. These patterns suggest that to minimise human-wildlife conflict, livestock should be corralled at night and dawn in summer, and dusk in winter. It is likely that climate change will intensify seasonal effects on the snow leopard’s daily temporal niche for thermoregulation in the future.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1710

New Article to the Bibliography

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

Title: Monitoring the Manul – guidelines for practitioners

Author: Moqanaki, E., Samelius, G.

Abstract: Foreword: Field monitoring of wild animal species is rarely accomplished without challenges. Logistical, environmental, and ecological factors dictate the need for appropriate sampling regardless of location, taxa, or objectives. With regards to felids there is no questioning their popularity when it comes to field research. Their role and impact on the ecosystems combined with their “hypercarnivore” lifestyle and cultural significance have resulted in an extensive and historical resume of field studies across the globe. Despite the vast number of studies on felids, there is a significant skew toward the big cats with the scientific knowledge base for small-bodied cat species, including the Pallas’s cat or manul (Otocolobus manul), much smaller. Given the solitary and elusive nature of most small cats, like the manul, that inhabit remote environments, it is not difficult to understand this gap in field research.
Recognising this gap and following years of field research and conservation, the Pallas’s cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA) and their conservation partners identified the need for targeted and easy to follow guidance on best practices for monitoring the manul in the wild. This guide details an extensive compilation of data collection methods and monitoring techniques for the manul that will help practitioners deliver more effective conservation and research efforts.
This guide was edited by Ehsan Moqanaki and Gustaf Samelius that, in close collaboration with a number of co-authors, have brought together a wealth of knowledge on surveying and monitoring manul populations. Each chapter compiles tried and tested techniques from a range of carnivore research projects over the last few decades, with a focus on the manul. In doing so this guide provides a detailed insight into the most effective data collection methods to enhance future conservation and research efforts for the species. We are grateful to all involved in the development of this book and hope that it serves as a valuable practical guide to current and future conservation and researcher efforts, while contributing to long-term conservation actions for this amazing small cat.
The Pallas’s cat International Conservation Alliance

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1709