Johnston, L. A., Armstrong, D. L., & Brown, J. L. (1994). Seasonal effects on seminal and endocrine traits in the captive snow leopard (Panthera uncia). J Reprod Fertil, 102(1), 229–236.
Abstract: The annual reproductive cycle of the male snow leopard (Panthera uncia) was characterized by evaluating seminal and endocrine traits monthly. Testicular volume was greatest (P < 0.05) during the winter months when the quality of ejaculate was optimal. Ejaculate volume, total sperm concentration ml-1, motile sperm concentration per ejaculate, sperm morphology and sperm motility index were lowest during the summer and autumn months compared with the winter and spring. Peripheral LH, FSH and testosterone concentrations were also lowest during the summer months, increasing during the autumn just before the increase in semen quality, and were maximal during the winter months. There was a direct relationship (P < 0.01) between: (1) testosterone and testicular volume, total sperm concentration ml-1, motile sperm concentration per ejaculate and ejaculate volume, and (2) LH and testicular volume and motile sperm concentration per ejaculate. In summary, although spermatozoa were recovered throughout the year, optimal gamete quality was observed during the winter and spring. Although previous studies in felids have demonstrated seasonal effects on either seminal or endocrine traits, this is the first study to demonstrate a distinct effect of season on both pituitary and testicular function.
Mongolian Biosphere & Ecology Association. (2010). Mongolian Biosphere & Ecology Association Report March 2010.
Abstract: In accordance with order of the Ministry of Nature and Tourism,
zoologists of our association have made surveys in three ways such as
reasons why snow leopards attack domestic animals, “Snow leopard” trial
operation to count them and illegal hunting in territories of Khovd,
Gobi-Altai, Bayankhongor, Uvurkhangai and Umnugobi provinces from
September 2009 to January 2010. As result of these surveys it has made
the following conclusions in the followings: Reason to hunt them illegally: the principal reason is that
administrative units have been increased and territories of
administrative units have been diminished. There have been four
provinces in 1924 to 1926, 18 since 1965, 21 since 1990. Such situation
limits movements of herdsmen completely and pastures digressed much than
ever before. As result of such situation, 70% of pastures become desert.
Such digression caused not only heads of animals and also number of
species. Guarantee is that birds such as owls, cuckoo, willow grouse in
banks of Uyert river, Burkhanbuudai mountain, located in Biger soum,
Gobi-Altai province, which are not hunted by hunters, are disappearing
in the recent two decades. For that reason we consider it is urgently
necessary for the government to convert administrative unit structures
into four provinces. This would influence herdsmen moving across
hundreds km and pastures could depart from digression.
Second reason: cooperative movement won. The issues related to management and strengthening of national
cooperatives, considered by Central Committee of Mongolian People's
Revolutionary Party in the meeting in March 1953 was the start of
cooperatives' movement. Consideration by Yu. Tsedenbal, chairman of
Ministers Council, chairman of the MPRP, on report "Result of to unify
popular units and some important issues to maintain entity management of
agricultural cooperatives" in the fourth meeting by the Central
Committee of Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party /MPRP/ on December
16-17, 1959, proclaimed complete victory of cooperative. At the end of
1959, it could unify 767 small cooperative into 389 ones, unify 99.3 %
of herdsmen and socialize 73.3 % of animals. The remaining of animals
amount 6 million 163 thousands animals, and equals to 26.7% of total
animals. This concerned number of animals related to the article
mentioned that every family should have not more that 50 animals in
Khangai zone and not more 75 animals in Gobi desert. It shows that such
number could not satisfy needs of family if such number is divided into
five main animals in separating with reproduction animals and adult
animals. So herdsmen started hunt hoofed animals secretly and illegally
in order to satisfy their meat needs. Those animals included main food
of snow leopard such as ibex, wild sheep, and marmot. Third reason is that the state used to hunt ibex, which are main
nutrition of snow leopards, every year. The administrative unit of the
soum pursued policy to hunt ibex in order to provide meat needs of
secondary schools and hospitals. That's why this affected decrease of
ibex population. Preciously from 1986 to 1990 the permissions to hunt
one thousands of wild sheep and two thousands of ibexes were hunt for
domestic alimentary use every year. Not less than 10 local hunters of every soum used to take part in big
game of ibexes. Also they hunted many ibexes, chose 3-10 best ibexes and
hid them in the mountains for their consummation during hunting.
Fourth reason: hunting of wolves. Until 1990 the state used to give
prizes to hunter, who killed a wolf in any seasons of the year. Firstly
it offered a sheep for the wolf hunter and later it gave 25 tugrugs /15
USD/. Every year, wolf hunting was organized several times especially
picking wolf-cubs influenced spread and population of wolves. So snow
leopard came to the places where wolves survived before and attack
domestic animals. Such situation continued until 1990. Now population of
ibexes has decreased than before 1990 since the state stopped hunting
wolves, population of wolves increased in mountainous zones. We didn't
consider it had been right since it was natural event. However
population of ibexes decreased. Fifth reason: Global warming. In recent five years it has had a drought
and natural disaster from excessive snow in the places where it has
never had such natural disasters before. But Mongolia has 40 million
heads of domestic animals it has never increased like such quantity in
its history before. We consider it is not incorrect that decrease of
domestic animals could give opportunities to raise population of wild
animals. Our next survey is to make attempt to fix heads of snow leopards
correctly with low costs.
Roth, T. L., Armstrong, D. L., Barrie, M. T., & Wildt, D. E. (1997). Seasonal effects on ovarian responsiveness to exogenous gonadotrophins and successful artificial insemination in the snow leopard (Uncia uncia). Reprod Fertil Dev, 9(3), 285–295.
Abstract: Ovaries of the seasonally-breeding snow leopard (Uncia uncia) were examined to determine whether they were responsive to exogenous gonadotrophins throughout the year. The potential of laparoscopic artificial insemination (AI) also was assessed for producing offspring. During the non-breeding, pre-breeding, breeding and post-breeding seasons, females (n = 20) were treated with a standardized, dual- hormone regimen given intramuscularly (600 I.U. of equine chorionic gonadotrophin followed 80-84 h later with 300 I.U. of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)). Laparoscopy was performed 45-50 h after administration of hCG, and all ovarian structures were described. Females with fresh corpora lutea (CL) were inseminated, and anovulatory females were subjected to follicular aspiration to examine oocyte quality. Snow leopards responded to exogenous gonadotrophins throughout the year. Mean number of total ovarian structures (distinct follicles mature in appearance plus CL) did not differ (P > or = 0.05) with season, but the proportion of CL: total ovarian structures was greater (P < 0.01) for the breeding season compared with all other seasons. The proportion of females ovulating was greater (P < 0.05) during the breeding and post-breeding seasons than during the pre-breeding and non- breeding seasons respectively. No Grade-1 quality oocytes were recovered from follicles of anovulatory females. Serum concentrations of oestradiol-17 beta appeared elevated in all females, and neither oestradiol-17 beta concentrations nor progesterone concentrations differed (P > or = 0.05) among seasons. Of 15 females artificially inseminated, the only one that was inseminated in the non-breeding season became pregnant and delivered a single cub. This is the first successful pregnancy resulting from AI in this endangered species.
Schmidt, A. M., Hess, D. L., Schmidt, M. J., & Lewis, C. R. (1993). Serum concentrations of oestradiol and progesterone and frequency of sexual behaviour during the normal oestrous cycle in the snow leopard (Panthera uncia). J Reprod Fertil, 98(1), 91–95.
Abstract: Serum oestradiol and progesterone concentrations were measured at weekly intervals for six months, and correlated with daily behavioural observations in two adult female snow leopards (Panthera uncia). Three oestradiol peaks (> 21 pg ml-1; interval 3.6 weeks) were identified in a snow leopardess housed alone (two more were probably missed because of the weekly sampling schedule), and three oestradiol peaks were identified in a snow leopardess housed with a male as a breeding pair (interval 6 weeks). Daily frequencies of feline reproductive behaviour averaged 1.77 observations per observation period during weeks of high oestradiol and 0.62 during weeks of low oestradiol. Progesterone concentrations did not rise above baseline values (< 2 ng ml-1) in the isolated animal, but 6 weeks of high progesterone concentrations (4.9- 38.8 ng ml-1) was recorded in the paired snow leopardess following mating. No offspring were produced. Snow leopards were observed daily for an additional 4.5 years. Sexual behaviour peaks could be clearly identified from December through April, and average daily sexual behaviour scores were higher during these months than during the rest of the year. Intervals between sexual behaviour peaks for the isolated snow leopardess averaged 3.03 weeks. The sexual behaviour of the paired snow leopards decreased for 8-9 weeks following mating when no offspring were produced, and decreased for 13 weeks in one year when a single cub was born.
Shrestha, B. (2008). Prey Abundance and Prey Selection by Snow Leopard (uncia uncia) in the Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park, Nepal.
Abstract: Predators have significant ecological impacts on the region's prey-predator dynamic and community structure through their numbers and prey selection. During April-December 2007, I conducted a research in Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park (SNP) to: i) explore population status and density of wild prey species; Himalayan tahr, musk deer and game birds, ii) investigate diet of the snow leopard and to estimate prey selection by snow leopard, iii) identify the pattern of livestock depredation by snow leopard, its mitigation, and raise awareness through outreach program, and identify the challenge and opportunities on conservation snow leopard and its co-existence with wild ungulates and the human using the areas of the SNP. Methodology of my research included vantage points and regular monitoring from trails for Himalayan tahr, fixed line transect with belt drive method for musk deer and game birds, and microscopic hair identification in snow leopard's scat to investigate diet of snow leopard and to estimate prey selection. Based on available evidence and witness accounts of snow leopard attack on livestock, the patterns of livestock depredation were assessed. I obtained 201 sighting of Himalayan tahr (1760 individuals) and estimated 293 populations in post-parturient period (April-June), 394 in birth period (July -October) and 195 November- December) in rutting period. In average, ratio of male to females was ranged from 0.34 to 0.79 and ratio of kid to female was 0.21-0.35, and yearling to kid was 0.21- 0.47. The encounter rate for musk deer was 1.06 and density was 17.28/km2. For Himalayan monal, the encounter rate was 2.14 and density was 35.66/km2. I obtained 12 sighting of snow cock comprising 69 individual in Gokyo. The ratio of male to female was 1.18 and young to female was 2.18. Twelve species (8 species of wild and 4 species of domestic livestock) were identified in the 120 snow leopard scats examined. In average, snow leopard predated most frequently on Himalayan tahr and it was detected in 26.5% relative frequency of occurrence while occurred in 36.66% of all scats, then it was followed by musk deer (19.87%), yak (12.65%), cow (12.04%), dog (10.24%), unidentified mammal (3.61%), woolly hare (3.01%), rat sp. (2.4%), unidentified bird sp. (1.8%), pika (1.2%), and shrew (0.6%) (Table 5.8 ). Wild species were present in 58.99% of scats whereas domestic livestock with dog were present in 40.95% of scats. Snow leopard predated most frequently on wildlife species in three seasons; spring (61.62%), autumn (61.11%) and winter (65.51%), and most frequently on domestic species including dog in summer season (54.54%). In term of relative biomass consumed, in average, Himalayan tahr was the most important prey species contributed 26.27% of the biomass consumed. This was followed by yak (22.13%), cow (21.06%), musk deer (11.32%), horse (10.53%), wooly hare (1.09%), rat (0.29%), pika (0.14%) and shrew (0.07%). In average, domestic livestock including dog were contributed more biomass in the diet of snow leopard comprising 60.8% of the biomass consumed whilst the wild life species comprising 39.19%. The annual prey consumption by a snow leopard (based on 2 kg/day) was estimated to be three Himalayan tahr, seven musk deer, five wooly hare, four rat sp., two pika, one shrew and four livestock. In the present study, the highest frequency of attack was found during April to June and lowest to July to November. The day of rainy and cloudy was the more vulnerable to livestock depredation. Snow leopard attacks occurred were the highest at near escape cover such as shrub land and cliff. Both predation pressure on tahr and that on livestock suggest that the development of effective conservation strategies for two threatened species (predator and prey) depends on resolving conflicts between people and predators. Recently, direct control of free – ranging livestock, good husbandry and compensation to shepherds may reduce snow leopard – human conflict. In long term solution, the reintroduction of blue sheep at the higher altitudes could also “buffer” predation on livestock.