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Author Alexander, J. S., Gopalswamy, A. M., Shi, K., Riordan, P.
Title Face Value: Towards Robust Estimates of Snow Leopard Densities Type Journal Article
Year 2015 Publication Plos One Abbreviated Journal
Volume Issue Pages
Keywords Densities, Snow Leopard, Camera traps, Spatial Capture Recapture models
Abstract When densities of large carnivores fall below certain thresholds, dramatic ecological effects

can follow, leading to oversimplified ecosystems. Understanding the population status of

such species remains a major challenge as they occur in low densities and their ranges are

wide. This paper describes the use of non-invasive data collection techniques combined

with recent spatial capture-recapture methods to estimate the density of snow leopards

Panthera uncia. It also investigates the influence of environmental and human activity indicators

on their spatial distribution. A total of 60 camera traps were systematically set up during

a three-month period over a 480 km2 study area in Qilianshan National Nature Reserve,

Gansu Province, China. We recorded 76 separate snow leopard captures over 2,906 trapdays,

representing an average capture success of 2.62 captures/100 trap-days. We identified

a total number of 20 unique individuals from photographs and estimated snow leopard

density at 3.31 (SE = 1.01) individuals per 100 km2. Results of our simulation exercise indicate

that our estimates from the Spatial Capture Recapture models were not optimal to

respect to bias and precision (RMSEs for density parameters less or equal to 0.87). Our

results underline the critical challenge in achieving sufficient sample sizes of snow leopard

captures and recaptures. Possible performance improvements are discussed, principally by

optimising effective camera capture and photographic data quality.
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Call Number SLN @ rakhee @ Serial 1431
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