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Author (up) Thapa, K. url  openurl
  Title Is their any correlation between abundance of blue sheep population and livestock depredation by snow leopards in the Phu Valley, Manang District, Annapurna Conservation Area? Final report Type Report
  Year 2005 Publication Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume Issue Pages 1-19  
  Keywords abundance; blue; blue sheep; blue-sheep; sheep; population; livestock; livestock depredation; livestock-depredation; depredation; snow; snow leopards; snow leopard; snow-leopards; snow-leopard; leopards; leopard; valley; Manang; annapurna; annapurna conservation area; Annapurna-Conservation-Area; conservation; area; Report; project; International; international snow leopard trust; International-Snow-Leopard-Trust; trust; program; Nepal  
  Abstract This study was undertaken in the Phu valley of Manang district in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal,

Spring, 2004 and 2005. I used the Snow Leopard Management Information System (“second order” survey technique), to determine

the relative abundance of snow leopards in delineated areas in Phu valley. Transects routes were plotted by

randomly selected feasible landforms such as along ridgelines, cliff bases and river bluffs where snow

leopards sign is likely to be found. Altogether, 16 transects (total length of 7.912 km) were laid down (mean

transect length=0.495 km). They revealed, 54 sign sites (both relic and non-relic) and altogether 88 signs (72

scrapes, 11 feces, 3 scent mark, 2 pugmarks and 1 hair) were recorded (6.8 site/km and 11.1 signs/km). There

were 61.1% non-relic and 38.9% relic sites. The density of snow leopards in Phu Valley may be 4-5 snow

leopards/100 kmý.It was found that the Ghyo block had the highest sign density (13.6 mean sign item/km)

and Phu block (9.8 mean sign item/km) and the lowest in Ngoru block (3.9 mean sign item/km.). For blue sheep, direct count method was applied from different appropriate vantage points (fixed-point

count). I counted total individuals in each herd and classified all individuals whenever possible, using 8 X24

binocular and 15-60x spotting scope. A total 37 blue sheep herds and 1209 individuals were observed in

192.25 kmý of the study area (blue sheep density, 6.3 kmý). Average herd size was 32.68. Herd size varied

from 1 to 103 animals (the largest so far recorded). The average sex ratio male to female for the entire survey

area was 0.67. Recruitment rate was 47.13. The ratio of yearlings to adult female was 0.45. In Ghyo block

had total 168 blue sheep (area, 44.08 km2 or 3.8/ km2 i.e. 137.2 kg/ kmý). Blue sheep density in Ngoru block

showed 4.7/km2 (area, 65.47 km2). Highest density of blue sheep among three blocks was recorded in Phu

block, 8.9/km2 (or 320 kg/km2) in its 82.70 km2 area. A standard questionnaire was designed, and interviews conducted for relevant information was collected on

livestock depredation patterns (total household survey). Out of 33 households surveyed, 30 reported that they

had livestock depredation by the snow leopard in 2004. Altogether 58 animals were reportedly lost to snow

leopards (3.1% of the total mortality). Out of the estimated standing available biomass (1, 83,483kg) in the

Phu valley at least 2220 kg or 1.3% of the total livestock biomass was consumed by snow leopards in the

year of our study (2004). It was estimated that in the Phu valley annually 1.8 animals were lost per household

to snow leopards. This means approx. Rs.413560 (US$ 5,908) is lost annually in the valley (US$

179/household/annum). Ghyo block, had the highest animals loss (53.4%), followed by Phu block (36.2%)

and Ngoru block (10.3%) to snow leopards. There is positive correlation among the densities of blue sheep, relative abundance of the snow leopard and

livestock depredation. Blue sheep is the main prey species of the snow leopard in Phu valley and its

conservation therefore matters to reduce livestock depredation. A general patterns appears here that shows

that blue sheep (prey) abundance determine snow leopard (predator) abundance and that livestock

depredation by snow leopards may be minimal where there is good population of blue sheep, and vice versa.
 
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  Notes Project funded by International Snow Leopard Trust Small Grants Program, 2005. Annapurna Conservation Area Project, Pokhara, Nepal. Approved no  
  Call Number SLN @ rana @ 1078 Serial 959  
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