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Alexander, J. S., Zhang, C., Shi, K., Riordan, P. (2016). A spotlight on snow leopard conservation in China. Integrative Zoology, (11).
Abstract: China holds the greatest proportion of the snow leopard’s (Panthera uncia) global range and is central to their conservation. The country is also undergoing unprecedented economic growth, which increases both the threats to the snow leopard and the opportunities for its conservation. In this paper we aim to review published literature (from 1950 to 2014) in English and Mandarin on snow leopard ecology and conservation in China in order to identify thematic and geographic research gaps and propose research priorities. We first retrieved all publish items that considered snow leopards in China (n = 106). We extracted from these papers 274 reports of snow leopard presence in China. We then reviewed a subset of papers (n = 33) of this literature, which specifically focused on snow leopard ecology and conservation within China. We introduced a thematic framework that allows a structured and comprehensive assessment of findings. This framework recognizes 4 critical and interrelated topics underpinning snow leopard ecology and conservation: habitat (distribution and protected area coverage); prey (distribution and abundance, predator–prey relationships); human interactions (hunting and trade, livestock interactions and conflicts); and the underlying policy context. Significant gains in knowledge as well as research gaps and priorities are discussed with reference to our framework. The modest quantity and limited scope of published research on the snow leopard in China calls for a continued and intensified effort to inform and support national conservation policies.