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Johansson, O., Rauset, G. R., Samelius, G., McCarthy, T., Andren, H., Tumursukh, L., Mishra, C. (2016). Land sharing is essential for snow leopard conservation. Biological Conservation, (203), 1–7.
Abstract: Conserving large carnivores in an increasingly crowded planet raises difficult challenges. A recurring debate is whether large carnivores can be conserved in human used landscapes (land sharing) or whether they require specially designated areas (land sparing). Here we show that 40% of the 170 protected areas in the global range of the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) are smaller than the home range of a single adult male and only 4– 13% are large enough for a 90% probability of containing 15 or more adult females. We used data from 16 snow leopards equipped with GPS collars in the Tost Mountains of South Gobi, Mongolia, to calculate home range size and overlap using three different estimators: minimum convex polygons (MCP), kernel utility distributions (Kernel), and local convex hulls (LoCoH). Local convex hull home ranges were smaller and included lower proportions of unused habitats compared to home ranges based on minimum convex polygons and Kernels. Intra-sexual home range overlapwas low, especially for adult males, suggesting that snowleopards are territorial. Mean home range size based on the LoCoH estimates was 207 km2 ± 63 SD for adult males and 124 km2 ± 41 SD for adult females. Our estimates were 6–44 times larger than earlier estimates based on VHF technology when comparing similar estimators, i.e. MCP. Our study illustrates that protected areas alone will not be able to conserve predatorswith large home ranges and conservationists and managers should not restrict their efforts to land sparing.
Johansson, O., Ausilio, G., Low, M., Lkhagvajav, P., Weckworth,
B., Sharma, K. (2020). The timing of breeding and independence for snow leopard females
and their cubs. Mammalian Biology, .
Abstract: Significant knowledge gaps persist on snow leopard demography
and reproductive behavior. From a GPS-collared population in Mongolia,
we estimated the timing of mating, parturition and independence. Based
on three mother–cub pairs, we describe the separation phase of the cub
from its mother as it gains independence. Snow leopards mated from
January–March and gave birth from April–June. Cubs remained with their
mother until their second winter (20–22 months of age) when cubs started
showing movements away from their mother for days at a time. This
initiation of independence appeared to coincide with their mother mating
with the territorial male. Two female cubs remained in their mothers’
territory for several months after initial separation, whereas the male
cub quickly dispersed. By comparing the relationship between body size
and age of independence across 11 solitary, medium-to-large felid
species, it was clear that snow leopards have a delayed timing of
separation compared to other species. We suggest this may be related to
their mating behavior and the difficulty of the habitat and prey capture
for juvenile snow leopards. Our results, while limited, provide
empirical estimates for understanding snow leopard ecology and for
parameterizing population models.
Johnsingh, A. J. T. (2006). A roadmap for conservation in Uttaranchal.
Abstract: The enchanting state of Uttaranchal, carved out of Uttar Pradesh on 9th November 2000, has a total area of ca. 53,485 km2 with a population density of 160 persons/ km2, much lower than the national average of 324/km2. This young state can take pride in the fact that 13.42% of its area is under protected areas. The state has varied landscapes: snow-capped and conifer forest covered mountains in the north, forest covered foothills with numerous perennial rivers and streams, locally known as the bhabar tract which includes the Himalayan foothills and the Shivalik range. As a result, the land is home to a variety of fascinating wildlife such as the golden mahseer (Tor putitora), king cobra (Ophiophagus hanna), Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus), great hornbill (Buceros bicornis), Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), bharal (Pseudois nayaur), Himalayan musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster), goral (Nemorhaedus goral), elephant (Elephas maximus), snow leopard (Panthera uncia), leopard (P. pardus), black bear (Ursus thibetanus), and tiger (P. tigris). All across their range, most of these species are endangered. The potential of this state, with about 800 kilometers of riverine habitat, can only be surpassed by Arunachal Pradesh in terms of golden mahseer conservation. The mountains, bedecked with the scarlet flowers of rhododendron (Rhododendron arboreum) in the summer months, can be a veritable home to many forms of pheasants, mountain ungulates and carnivores, provided poaching for trade is eliminated and hunting for the pot is brought under control. The bhabar forests of this state, ca. 7,500 km2, extending between Yamuna and Sharda rivers (Fig. 1.), can easily support a population of about 1000 elephants and 200 tigers as long as this large habitat, now fragmented in three blocks, is managed and protected as one continuous habitat for wildlife. Six villages, gujjar settlements and encroachments need to be moved away from the main wildlife habitat which goes along the bhabar tract. Although the conservation of these habitats can eventually bring in immense benefits through well-planned ecotourism programmes that are rapidly catching up in the state, initial conservation efforts would need a substantial amount of funds.
Jumabay, K., Wegge, P., Mishra, C., Sharma, K. (2013). Large carnivores and low diversity of optimal prey: a comparison of the diets of snow leopards Panthera uncia and wolves Canis lupus in Sarychat-Ertash Reserve in Kyrgyzstan. Oryx, , 1–7.
Abstract: In the cold and arid mountains of Central Asia, where the diversity and abundance of wild ungulates
are generally low, resource partitioning among coexisting carnivores is probably less distinct than in prey-rich areas. Thus, similar-sized carnivores are likely to compete for food. We compared the summer diets of snow leopards Panthera uncia and wolves Canis lupus in Sarychat-Ertash Reserve in the Tien-Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, based on analysis of genetically confirmed scats. Abundances of
the principal prey species, argali Ovis ammon and Siberian ibex Capra sibirica, were estimated from field surveys. The diets consisted of few species, with high interspecific overlap (Pianka’s index50.91). Argali was the predominant prey, with .50% frequency of occurrence in both snow leopard and wolf scats. This was followed by Siberian ibex and marmots Marmota baibacina. Being largely unavailable, remains of livestock were not detected in any of the scats. In the snow leopard diet, proportions of argali and ibex were in
line with the relative availabilities of these animals in the Reserve. This was in contrast to the diet of wolf, where argali occurred according to availability and ibex was significantly underrepresented. The high diet overlap indicates that the two predators might compete for food when the diversity of profitable, large prey is low. Competition may be more intense in winter, when marmots are not available. Hunting of argali and ibex outside the Reserve may be unsustainable and therefore reduce their abundances over time. This will
affect both predators negatively and intensify competition for food. Reduction in ibex populations will directly affect the snow leopard, and the wolf is likely to be indirectly affected as a result of increased snow leopard predation of argali.
Kalashnikova, Y. A., Karnaukhov, A. S., Dubinin, M. Y., Poyarkov, A. D., Rozhnov, V. V. (2019). POTENTIAL HABITAT OF SNOW LEOPARD (PANTHERA UNCIA, FELINAE) IN SOUTH SIBERIA AND ADJACENT TERRITORIES BASED ON THE MAXIMUM ENTROPY DISTRIBUTION MODEL.98(3), 332–342.
Abstract: The snow leopard is an endangered large felid inhabiting highlands of 12 Asian countries. It is distributed
across vast territories and adequate modern methods are required for mapping its potential habitats. The goal
of the present study is to create a model of snow leopard potential habitat within the northern part of its range
in Russia (and adjacent territories of Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan). More than 5 years of observations
(total number of presence points = 449), environmental variables and the maximum entropy distribution
method (Maxent) are used. The resulting map demonstrates that a suitable habitat (probability of the animal�s
presence between 0.5 and 1) of the northern population of snow leopard in Russia occupies 16500 km2
with a buffer of transient territories (probability between 0.25 and 0.49) covering 32800 km2. Most of a suitable
habitat within the study area is associated with the Altai Mountains, Western Sayan Mountains, Sangilen
Plateau, Tsagan-Shibetu and Shapshal. One third of the suitable habitat lies within areas of a varying protection
status. The results of modeling are of importance both for scientists and conservation managers, as they
allow for leopard occurrence to be predicted, supporting research on and the conservation of the species.
Karnaukhov, A. S., Malykh, S. V., Korablev, M. P., Kalashnikova, Y. M., Poyarkov, A. D., Rozhnov, V. V. (2018). Current Status of the Eastern Sayan Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) Grouping and Its Nutritive Base. Biology Bulletin, 45(9), 1106–1115.
Abstract: A field survey of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) habitats was carried out in the southeastern part of
the Eastern Sayan Mountains (Okinskii and Tunkinskii districts of the Republic of Buryatia and the Kaa-
Khemskii district of Tuva Republic). Seven or eight adult snow leopards were observed as constant inhabitants
of the Tunkinskie Gol'tsy, Munku-Sardyk, and Bol'shoi Sayan mountain ridges. The presence of eight
snow leopards was confirmed using DNA-based analyses of scats collected in 2014 – 2016. The main prey species
of the snow leopard in Eastern Sayan is the Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), but its abundance has steadily
decreased over the past 20 years. The red deer (Cervus elaphus) and the wild boar (Sus scrofa), which were
some of the most numerous ungulates in the survey area, are replacing the Siberian ibex in the snow leopard's
diet. In addition, the mountain hare (Lepus timidus) is also of importance to the snow leopard's diet.
Khanal, G., Poudyal, L. P., Devkota, B. P., Ranabhat, R., Wegge, P. (2018). Status and conservation of the snow leopard Panthera uncia in Api Nampa Conservation Area, Nepal. Fauna & Flora International, , 1–8.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia is globally
threatened and reliable information on its abundance,
distribution and prey species is a prerequisite for its conservation.
In October-November 2014 we assessed the distribution
of the snow leopard in the recently established Api
Nampa Conservation Area in the Nepal Himalayas.
Within selected blocks we conducted sign surveys and
counted the number of bharal Pseudois nayaur, its principal
wild prey, along transects totalling 106 km.We recorded 203
putative snow leopard signs at an encounter rate of 1.91
signs/km. Generalized linear models of the number of
signs detected per transect showed that elevation had a positive
influence and human activities a negative influence on
sign encounter rate; prey abundance had only a weak positive
influence on sign encounter rate. Within the effectively
surveyed area of c. 2002 km2, we counted 527 bharal at an estimated
density of 2.28 animals/km2. Recruitment of bharal
was low, estimated at 48 kids/100 adult females, most likely a
result of poor or overgrazed rangeland. We estimate
the total number of bharal in this conservation area to be
.>1,000, a prey base that could sustain 6-9 snow leopards.
Based on our field observations, we identified human disturbance
and habitat degradation associated with extraction
of non-timber forest products, livestock grazing, and poaching
as the main threats to the snow leopard. Standardized
sign surveys, preferably supplemented by sampling with
remote cameras or with genetic analysis of scats would
provide robust baseline information on the abundance of
snow leopards in this conservation area.
Knowles, J. (1982). Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) at Marwell Zoological Park. In L. Blomqvist (Ed.), International Pedigree Book of Snow Leopards, Vol. 3 (Vol. 3, pp. 59–62). Helsinki: Helsinki Zoo.
Koju. N. P,, Bashyal, B., Pandey, B. P., Shah, S. N., Thami, S., Bleisch, W. V. (2020). First camera-trap record of the snow leopard Panthera uncia in Gaurishankar Conservation Area, Nepal. Oryx, , 1–4.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia is the flagship species of the high mountains of the Himalayas. There is po- tentially continuous habitat for the snow leopard along the northern border of Nepal, but there is a gap in information about the snow leopard in Gaurishankar Conservation Area. Previous spatial analysis has suggested that the Lamabagar area in this Conservation Area could serve as a transbound- ary corridor for snow leopards, and that the area may con- nect local populations, creating a metapopulation. However, there has been no visual confirmation of the species in Lamabagar. We set !! infrared camera traps for " months in Lapchi Village of Gaurishankar Conservation Area, where blue sheep Pseudois nayaur, musk deer Moschus leucogaster and Himalayan tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus, all snow leopard prey species, had been observed. In November #$!% at &,!$$ m, ' km south-west of Lapchi Village, one camera recorded three images of a snow leopard, the first photographic evidence of the species in the Conservation Area. Sixteen other species of mammals were also recorded. Camera-trap records and sightings indicated a high abun- dance of Himalayan tahr, blue sheep and musk deer. Lapchi Village may be a potentially important corridor for snow leopard movement between the east and west of Nepal and northwards to Quomolongma National Park in China. However, plans for development in the region present in- creasing threats to this corridor. We recommend develop- ment of a transboundary conservation strategy for snow leopard conservation in this region, with participation of Nepal, China and international agencies.
Korablev, M. P., Poyarkov, A. D., Karnaukhov, A. S., Zvychaynaya, E. Y., Kuksin, A. N., Malykh, S. V., Istomov, S. V., Spitsyn, S. V., Aleksandrov, D. Y., Hernandez-Blanco, J. A., Munkhtsog, B., Munkhtogtokh, O., Putintsev, N. I., Vereshchagin, A. S., Becmurody, A., Afzunov, S., Rozhnov, V. V. (2021). Large-scale and fine-grain population structure and genetic diversity of snow leopards (Panthera uncia Schreber, 1776) from the northern and western parts of the range with an emphasis on the Russian population. Conservation Genetics, .
Abstract: The snow leopard (Panthera uncia Schreber, 1776) population in Russia and Mongolia is situated at the northern edge of the range, where instability of ecological conditions and of prey availability may serve as prerequisites for demographic instability and, consequently, for reducing the genetic diversity. Moreover, this northern area of the species distribution is connected with the western and central parts by only a few small fragments of potential habitats in the Tian-Shan spurs in China and Kazakhstan. Given this structure of the range, the restriction of gene flow between the northern and other regions of snow leopard distribution can be expected. Under these conditions, data on population genetics would be extremely important for assessment of genetic diversity, population structure and gene flow both at regional and large-scale level. To investigate large-scale and fine-grain population structure and levels of genetic diversity we analyzed 108 snow leopards identified from noninvasively collected scat samples from Russia and Mongolia (the northern part of the range) as well as from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (the western part of the range) using panel of eight polymorphic microsatellites. We found low to moderate levels of genetic diversity in the studied populations. Among local habitats, the highest heterozygosity and allelic richness were recorded in Kyrgyzstan (He = 0.66 ± 0.03, Ho = 0.70 ± 0.04, Ar = 3.17) whereas the lowest diversity was found in a periphery subpopulation in Buryatia Republic of Russia (He = 0.41 ± 0.12, Ho = 0.29 ± 0.05, Ar = 2.33). In general, snow leopards from the western range exhibit greater genetic diversity (He = 0.68 ± 0.04, Ho = 0.66 ± 0.03, Ar = 4.95) compared to those from the northern range (He = 0.60 ± 0.06, Ho = 0.49 ± 0.02, Ar = 4.45). In addition, we have identified signs of fragmentation in the northern habitat, which have led to significant genetic divergence between subpopulations in Russia. Multiple analyses of genetic structure support considerable genetic differentiation between the northern and western range parts, which may testify to subspecies subdivision of snow leopards from these regions. The observed patterns of genetic structure are evidence for delineation of several management units within the studied populations, requiring individual approaches for conservation initiatives, particularly related to translocation events. The causes for the revealed patterns of genetic structure and levels of genetic diversity are discussed.