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Maheshwari, A., Sharma, D., Sathyakumar, S. (2013). Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia) surveys in the Western Himalayas, India. Journal of Ecology and Natural Environmnet, 5(10), 303–309.
Abstract: We conducted surveys above 3000 m elevation in eight protected areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. These surveys provide new information on snow leopard in Uttarakhand on the basis of indirect evidence such as pugmark and scat. Snow leopard evidence (n = 13) were found between 3190 and 4115 m elevation. On an average, scats (n = 09) of snow leopard were found for every 56 km walked and pugmarks (n = 04) for every 126 km walked. Altogether, about 39% of the evidence were found on the hill-slope followed by valley floor (30%), cliff (15%) and 8% from both stream bed and scree slope. Genetic analysis of the scats identified three different individuals by using snow leopard specific primers. Snow leopard-human conflicts were assessed through questionnaire based interviews of shepherds from Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary, Askot Wildlife Sanctuary and Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve areas of Uttarakhand. Surveys revealed that livestock depredation (mule, goat and sheep) is the only cause of snow leopard-human conflicts and contributed 36% of the diet of snow leopard. Blue sheep and rodents together comprised 36.4% of the total diet. We found that 68.1% of the surveyed area was used for pastoral activities in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and 12.3% area was under tourism, defence and developmental activities.