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Alexander, J., Chen, P., Damerell, P., Youkui, W., Hughes, J., Shi, K., Riordan, P. (2015). Human wildlife conflict involving large carnivores in Qilianshan, China and the minimal paw-print of snow leopards. Biological Conservation, 187, 1–9.
Abstract: In this paper, we assess local perceptions towards snow leopards in North West China using a framework
depicting key conflict domains. We describe the perceived threats posed to humans by the snow leopard
and set them within beliefs and attitudes towards other species within the large carnivore assemblage in
this region. Surveys were conducted in seven villages within Qilianshan National Nature Reserve, Gansu
Province, China, to document reports of snow leopard (Panthera uncia), grey wolf (Canis lupus), Eurasian
lynx (Lynx lynx) and brown bear (Ursus arctos) depredation of livestock, and local attitudes towards each
species. Questionnaire-based interviews were held with 60 households and 49 livestock herders. Herding
of yak, sheep and goats was found to be a common livelihood activity among households in all villages.
Herders reported losing livestock to all four carnivore species. Herders reported that depredation was the
most common event affecting livestock, compared with natural disasters or disease, and represented a
total loss of 3.6% of the livestock population during the previous year. Most (53%) depredation losses were
attributed to lynx, while snow leopards were held responsible for only 7.8% of depredation losses. The
reported impact of snow leopards on herding activities was relatively small and the majority of both
householders and herders expressed positive attitudes towards them and supported measures for their
protection. Households and herders held negative attitudes towards lynx, wolves and bears, however,
most likely due to their perceived threat to livestock and humans. Understanding community perceptions
of threats posed by wildlife is vital for gaining community support for, and engagement in, conflict
Filla, M., Lama, R. P., Filla, T., Heurich, M., Balkenhol, N., Waltert, M., Khorozyan, I. (2022). Patterns of livestock depredation by snow leopards and effects of intervention strategies: lessons from the Nepalese Himalaya. Wildlife Research, .
Abstract: Context: Large carnivores are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic activities, and their protection is among the main goals of biodiversity conservation. The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) inhabits high-mountain landscapes where livestock depredation drives it into conflicts with local people and poses an obstacle for its conservation.
Aims: The aim of this study was to identify the livestock groups most vulnerable to depredation, target them in implementation of practical interventions, and assess the effectiveness of intervention strategies for conflict mitigation. We present a novel attempt to evaluate intervention strategies for particularly vulnerable species, age groups, time, and seasons.
Methods: In 2020, we conducted questionnaire surveys in two regions of the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal (Manang, n = 146 respondents and Upper Mustang, n = 183). We applied sample comparison testing, Jacobs’ selectivity index, and generalised linear models (GLMs) to assess rates and spatio-temporal heterogeneity of depredation, reveal vulnerable livestock groups, analyse potential effects of applied intervention strategies, and identify husbandry factors relevant to depredation.
Key results: Snow leopard predation was a major cause of livestock mortality in both regions (25.4–39.8%), resulting in an estimated annual loss of 3.2–3.6% of all livestock. The main intervention strategies (e.g. corrals during night-time and herding during daytime) were applied inconsistently and not associated with decreases in reported livestock losses. In contrast, we found some evidence that dogs, deterrents (light, music playing, flapping tape, and dung burning), and the use of multiple interventions were associated with a reduction in reported night-time depredation of yaks.
Conclusions and implications: We suggest conducting controlled randomised experiments for quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of dogs, deterrents, and the use of multiple interventions, and widely applying the most effective ones in local communities. This would benefit the long-term co-existence of snow leopards and humans in the Annapurna region and beyond.
Freeman, H., Jackson, R., Hillard, R., & Hunter, D. O. (1994). Project Snow Leopard: a multinational program spearheaded by the International Snow Leopard Trust. In J.L.Fox, & D. Jizeng (Eds.), (pp. 241–245). Usa: Islt.
Jackson, R. (1998). People-Wildlife Conflict Management in the Qomolangma Nature Preserve, Tibet. In W. Ning, D. Miller, L. Zhu, & J. Springer (Eds.), (pp. 40–46). Tibet's Biodiversity: Conservation and Management.. China: Tibet Forestry Department and World Wide Fund for Nature. China Forestry Publishing House.
Abstract: The primary objective of this paper is to report on people-wildlife conflicts arising from crop damage and livestock depredation in the Qomolangma Reserve, with special reference to the management of protected and endangered mammals.
Jackson, R. (1999). Managing people-wildlife conflict in Tibet's Qomolangma National Nature Preserve.
Jackson, R., & Wangchuk, R. (2004). A Community-Based Approach to Mitigating Livestock Depredation by Snow Leopards (Vol. 9).
Abstract: Livestock depredation by the endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) _is an increasingly contentious issue in Himalayan villages, especially in or near protected areas. Mass attacks in which as many as 100 sheep and goats are killed in a single incident inevitably result in retaliation by local villagers. This article describes a community-based conservation initiative to address this problem in Hemis National Park, India. Human-wildlife conflict is alleviated by predator-proofing villagers' nighttime livestock pens and by enhancing household incomes in environmentally sensitive and culturally compatible ways. The authors have found that the highly participatory strategy described here (Appreciative Participatory Planning and Action-APPA) leads to a sense of project ownership by local stakeholders, communal empowerment, self-reliance, and willingness to co-exist with
snow leopards. The most significant conservation outcome of this process is the protection from retaliatory poaching of up to five snow leopards for every village's livestock pens that are made predator-proof._
Kachel, S., Anderson, K., Shokirov, Q. (2022). Predicting carnivore habitat use and livestock depredation risk with false-positive multi-state occupancy models. Biological Conservation, 271(109588), 1–10.
Abstract: The cycle of livestock depredation and retaliatory killing constitutes a major threat to large carnivores worldwide and imposes considerable hardships on human communities. Mitigation efforts are often undertaken with little knowledge of ecological underpinnings and patterns of depredation, limiting conservationists' ability to develop, prioritize, and evaluate solutions. Carnivore detection and depredation data from interviews in affected communities may help address this gap, but such data are often prone to false-positive uncertainty. To address these challenges in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan we collected snow leopard, lynx, wolf, and bear detection and depredation reports from local communities via semi-structured interviews. We used a novel hierarchical multi-species multi-state occupancy model that accounted for potential false-positives to investigate carnivore site use and depredation concurrently with respondents' apparent vulnerability to that risk. Estimated false-positive probabilities were small, but failure to account for them overstated site use probabilities and depredation risk for all species. Although individual vulnerability was low, depredation was nonetheless commonplace. Carnivore site use was driven by clear habitat associations, but we did not identify any clearly important large-scale spatial correlates of depredation risk despite considerable spatial variation in that risk. Respondents who sheltered livestock in household corrals reinforced with wire mesh were less likely to report snow leopard depredations. Reducing depredation and retaliation at adequately large scales in the Pamirs will likely require a portfolio of species-specific strategies, including widespread proactive corral improvements. Our approach expanded inference on the often-cryptic processes surrounding human-carnivore conflict even though structured wildlife data were scarce.
Khanal, G., Mishra, C., Suryawanshi, K. R. (2020). Relative influence of wild prey and livestock abundance on
carnivore-caused livestock predation. Ecology and Evolution, , 1–11.
Abstract: Conservation conflict over livestock depredation is one of the
key drivers of large mammalian carnivore declines worldwide. Mitigating
this conflict requires strategies informed by reliable knowledge of
factors influencing livestock depredation. Wild prey and livestock
abundance are critical factors influencing the extent of livestock
depredation. We compared whether the extent of livestock predation by
snow leopards Panthera uncia differed in relation to densities of wild
prey, livestock, and snow leopards at two sites in Shey Phoksundo
National Park, Nepal. We used camera trap-based spatially explicit
capture–recapture models to estimate snow leopard density;
double-observer surveys to estimate the density of their main prey
species, the blue sheep Pseudois nayaur; and interview-based household
surveys to estimate livestock population and number of livestock killed
by snow leopards. The proportion of livestock lost per household was
seven times higher in Upper Dolpa, the site which had higher snow
leopard density (2.51 snow leopards per 100 km2) and higher livestock
density (17.21 livestock per km2) compared to Lower Dolpa (1.21 snow
leopards per 100 km2; 4.5 livestock per km2). The wild prey density was
similar across the two sites (1.81 and 1.57 animals per km2 in Upper and
Lower Dolpa, respectively). Our results suggest that livestock
depredation level may largely be determined by the abundances of the
snow leopards and livestock and predation levels on livestock can vary
even at similar levels of wild prey density. In large parts of the snow
leopard range, livestock production is indispensable to local
livelihoods and livestock population is expected to increase to meet the
demand of cashmere. Hence, we recommend that any efforts to increase
livestock populations or conservation initiatives aimed at recovering or
increasing snow leopard population be accompanied by better herding
practices (e.g., predator-proof corrals) to protect livestock from snow
Khatiwada, J. R., Chalise, M. K., & Kyes, R. (2007). Survey of Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) and Blue Sheep (Pseudois nayaur) populations in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA), Nepal. Final report.
Abstract: This study was carried out in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA), Eastern Nepal from Feb – Nov 2007. We used the Snow Leopard Information Management System, SLIMS (second order survey technique) to determine the relative abundance of snow leopard in the upper part of KCA. Altogether, 36 transects (total length of 15.21 km) were laid down in the major three blocks of KCA. 104 Signs (77 scrapes, 20 feces, 2 Scent mark, 3 Pugmarks and 2 hairs) were recorded. Fixed-point count method was applied for blue sheep from appropriate vantage points. We counted total individual in each herd using 8x42 binocular and 15-60x spotting scope. A total of 43 herds and 1102 individuals were observed in the area. The standard SLIMS questionnaire was conducted to find out relevant information on livestock depredation patterns. Out of 35 households surveyed in KCA, 48% of herders lost livestock due to snow leopards. A total of 21 animals were reportedly lost due to snow leopards from August to September 2007.
Khatiwada, J. R. & C., M.K. (2006). Status of snow leopard and conflict perception in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area, Eastern Nepal. Nepalese Journal of Zoology, 1(1), 1–8.
Abstract: Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) is situated in the Taplejung district at the north-eastern region of Nepal. Livestock keeping is the main activity of people for making a living amidst a conflict with snow leopard (Uncia uncia). Each year snow leopard kills a number of livestock resulting significant economic losses for the poor people living in this remote area. Unless the people – snow leopard conflicts is well understood and appropriate conflict management activities are implemented, the long run co-existence between people and snow leopard –especially the existence of snow leopard in this part of the world–will be in question. This has now become an utmost important as the aspiration of the people for economic development has risen significantly and the area has been open to tourism. Study was done by counting snow leopard signs walking systematically in total 18 snow leopard sign transects covering 18.01 km in length in three sites, i.e. Lonak, Khambachen and Dudhpokhari of the Conservation Area. The average sign density was 12.63/km. The livestock depredation by snow leopard for one year (2005-06) was studied by interviewing the herders to understand the responsible and specific bio-physical and economic factors. The study revealed that sub-adult yaks were mostly hunted by snow leopard. Cattle's' winter (December-April) pastures are most vulnerable sites for predation. Presence of bushes, forest and boulders and rugged mountain crevices make good hides for snow leopard. The study also showed that a lax animal guarding system was significantly responsible for high livestock depredation by snow leopard. Blue sheep was observed by walking in selected trails and from vantage points. A total of 354 individual sheep of different age and sex of 14 different herds were recorded during the study period. The study showed that improvement in livestock guarding system should be adopted as the most important activity. However despite the importance of livestock in the KCA it is still not well understood why the herders neglect for proper livestock guarding. Proper guarding system required in winter pastures to reduce the depredation pressure.
Lama, R. P., Ghale, T. R., Suwal, M. K., Ranabhat, R., Regmi, G. R. (2018). First photographic evidence of Snow Leopard Panthera uncia (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) outside current protected areas network in Nepal Himalaya. Journal of Threatened Taxa, , 12086–12090.
Abstract: The Snow Leopard Panthera uncia is a rare top predator of high-altitude ecosystems and insufficiently surveyed outside of protected areas in Nepal. We conducted a rapid camera-trapping survey to assess the presence of Snow Leopard in the Limi valley of Humla District. Three individuals were recorded in two camera locations offering the first photographic evidence of this elusive cat outside the protected area network of Nepal. In addition to Snow Leopard, the Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur, Beech Marten Martes foina, Pika Ochotona spp. and different species of birds were also detected by camera-traps. More extensive surveys and monitoring are needed for reliably estimating the population size of Snow Leopard in the area. The most urgent needs are community-based conservation activities aimed at mitigating immediate threats of poaching, retaliatory killing, and rapid prey depletion to ensure the survival of this top predator in the Himalaya.
Li, J., Yin, H., Wang, D., Jiagong, Z., Lu, Zhi. (2013). Human-snow leopard conflicts in the Sanjiangyuan Region of the Tibetan Plateau. Biological Conservs, (166), 118–123.
Abstract: Conflicts between humans and snow leopards are documented across much of their overlapping distribution
in Central Asia. These conflicts manifest themselves primarily in the form of livestock depredation
and the killing of snow leopards by local herders. This source of mortality to snow leopards is a key conservation concern. To investigate human-snow leopard conflicts in the Sanjiangyuan Region of the Tibetan Plateau, we conducted household interviews about local herders’ traditional use of snow leopard
parts, livestock depredation, and overall attitudes towards snow leopards. We found most respondents
(58%) knew that snow leopard parts had been used for traditional customs in the past, but they claimed
not in the past two or three decades. It may be partly due to the issuing of the Protection of Wildlife Law
in 1998 by the People’s Republic of China. Total livestock losses were damaging (US$ 6193 per household
in the past 1 year), however snow leopards were blamed by herders for only a small proportion of those
losses (10%), as compared to wolves (45%) and disease (42%). Correspondingly, the cultural images of
snow leopards were neutral (78%) and positive (9%) on the whole. It seems that human-snow leopard
conflict is not intense in this area. However, snow leopards could be implicated by the retaliatory killing
of wolves. We recommend a multi-pronged conservation program that includes compensation, insurance
programs, and training local veterinarians to reduce livestock losses.
Maheshwari, A., Midha, N., Chehrukupalli, A. (2014). Participatory Rural Appraisal and Compensation Intervention: Challenges and Protocols While Managing Large Carnivore–Human Conflict. Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An International Journal, 19, 62–71.
Abstract: When large carnivores cause socioeconomic losses in a community, conflict increases,
retaliatory killing of the carnivore can occur, and conservation efforts are undermined.
We focused on Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and economic compensation
schemes as approaches for managing conflict. PRA is a tool for collecting data on
the large carnivore–human conflict and economic compensation schemes for those
affected negatively by carnivore presence. We reviewed published papers and reports
on large carnivore–human conflicts, PRA, and compensation schemes. This article
details insights into common pitfalls, key lessons learned, possible solutions including
new approaches for compensation and protocols to be followed while managing large
carnivore–human conflict. We hope to contribute to a meaningful dialogue between
locals, managers, and researchers and help in effective implementation of conservation
programs to mitigate large carnivore–human conflict around the protected areas.
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.
Maheshwari, A., Sathyakumar, S. (2020). Patterns of Livestock Depredation and Large Carnivore
Conservation Implications in the Indian Trans-Himalaya. Journal of Arid Environments, , 1–5.
Abstract: Livestock is one of the major sources of livelihood for the
agro-pastoral communities in central and south Asia. Livestock
depredation by large carnivores is a wide-ranging issue that leads to
economic losses and a deviance from co-existence. We investigated the
grass root factors causing livestock depredation in Kargil, Ladakh and
tested the findings of diet analysis in validating reported livestock
depredation. Globally vulnerable snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and more
common wolf (Canis lupus) were the two main wild predators. A total of
1113 heads of livestock were reportedly killed by wolf (43.6%) followed
by unknown predators (31.4%) and snow leopard (21.5%) in the study site
from 2009 to 2012, which comes to 2.8% annual livestock losses. Scat
analysis also revealed a significant amount of livestock in the diet of
snow leopard (47%) and wolf (51%). Poor livestock husbandry practices
and traditional livestock corrals were found to be the major drivers
contributing in the livestock depredation. Based on the research
findings, we worked with the local communities to sensitize them about
wildlife conservation and extended limited support for predator proof
livestock corrals at a small scale. Eventually it helped in reducing
conflict level and conserving the globally threatened carnivores. We
conclude that a participatory approach has been successful to generate
an example in reducing large carnivore-human conflict in the west
Mishra, C. (1997). Livestock depredation by large carnivores in the Indian trans-Himalaya: Conflict perceptions and conservation prospects. Environmental Conservation, 24(4), 338–343.
Abstract: Livestock depredation by the snow leopard, Uncia uncia, and the wolf, Canis lupus, has resulted in a human-wildlife conflict that hinders the conservation of these globally-threatened species throughout their range. This paper analyses the alleged economic loss due to livestock depredation by these carnivores, and the retaliatory responses of an agro-pastoral community around Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian trans-Himalaya. The three villages studied (80 households) attributed a total of 189 livestock deaths (18% of the livestock holding) over a period of 18 months to wild predators, and this would amount to a loss per household equivalent to half the average annual per capita income. The financial compensation received by the villagers from the Government amounted to 3% of the perceived annual loss. Recent intensification of the conflict seems related to a 37.7% increase in livestock holding in the last decade. Villagers have been killing the wolf, though apparently not the snow leopard. A self-financed compensation scheme, and modification of existing livestock pens are suggested as area-specific short-term measures to reduce the conflict. The need to address the problem of increasing livestock holding in the long run is emphasized.
Mishra, C., Madhusudan, M. D., & Datta, A. (2006). Mammals of the high altitudes of western Arunachal Pradesh, eastern Himalaya: an assessment of threats and conservation needs (Vol. 40).
Abstract: The high altitudes of Arunachal Pradesh,India, located in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, remain zoologically unexplored and unprotected. We report results of recent mammal surveys in the high altitude habitats of western Arunachal Pradesh. A total of 35 mammal species (including 12 carnivores, 10 ungulates and 5 primates) were recorded, of which 13 are categorized as Endangered or Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. One species of primate, the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, is new to science and the Chinese goral Nemorhaedus caudatus is a new addition to the ungulate fauna of the Indian subcontinent. We documented peoples' dependence on natural resources for grazing and extraction of timber and medicinal plants. The region's mammals are threatened by widespread hunting. The snow leopard Uncia uncia and dhole Cuon alpinus are also persecuted in retaliation for livestock depredation. The tiger Panthera tigris, earlier reported from the lower valleys, is now apparently extinct there, and range reductions over the last two decades are reported for bharal Pseudois nayaur and musk deer Moschus sp.. Based on mammal species richness, extent of high altitude habitat, and levels of anthropogenic disturbance, we identified a potential site for the creation of Arunachal's first high altitude wildlife reserve (815 km2). Community-based efforts that provide incentives for conservation-friendly practices could work in this area, and conservation awareness programmes are required, not just amongst the local communities and schools but for politicians, bureaucrats and the army.
Namgail, T., Fox, J., & Bhatnagar, Y. (2007). Carnivore-Caused Livestock Mortality in Trans-Himalaya (Vol. 39).
Abstract: The loss of livestock to wild predators is an important livelihood concern among Trans-Himalayan pastoralists. Because of the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, few studies have been carried out to quantify livestock depredation by wild predators. In the present study, we assessed the intensity of livestock depredation by snow leopard Uncia uncia, Tibetan wolf Canis lupus chanku, and Eurasian lynx Lynx l. isabellina in three villages, namely Gya, Rumtse, and Sasoma, within the proposed Gya-Miru Wildlife Sanctuary in Ladakh, India. The three villages reported losses of 295 animals to these carnivores during a period of 2.5 years ending in early 2003, which represents an annual loss rate of 2.9% of their livestock holdings. The Tibetan wolf was the most important predator, accounting for 60% of the total livestock loss because of predation, followed by snow leopard (38%) and lynx (2%). Domestic goat was the major victim (32%), followed by sheep (30%), yak (15%), and horse (13%). Wolves killed horses significantly more and goats less than would be expected from their relative abundance. Snow leopards also killed horses significantly more than expected, whereas they killed other livestock types in proportion to their abundance. The three villages combined incurred an estimated annual monetary loss of approximately $USD 12,120 amounting to approximately $USD 190/household/y. This relatively high total annual loss occurred primarily because of depredation of the most valuable livestock types such as yak and horse. Conservation actions should initially attempt to target decrease of predation on these large and valuable livestock species.
Pahuja, M., Sharma, R. K. (2021). Wild Predators, Livestock, and Free Ranging Dogs: Patterns of Livestock Mortality and Attitudes of People Toward Predators in an Urbanizing Trans-Himalayan Landscape. Frontiers in Conservation Science, 2(109), 1–13.
Abstract: Livestock depredation by large carnivores is a significant source of conflicts over predators and an important conservation and economic concern. Preventing livestock loss to wild predators is a substantial focus of human-carnivore conflict mitigation programs. A key assumption of the preventive strategy is reduction in the livestock losses leading to a positive shift in the attitudes toward predators. Therefore, it is important to quantify the true extent of livestock mortality caused by wild predators and its influence on attitudes of the affected communities. We examined seasonal and spatial patterns of livestock mortality and factors influencing people’s attitudes toward wild predators i.e., snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and wolves (Canis lupus chanco) and free-ranging dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) in a Trans-Himalayan urbanizing landscape in India. We used systematic sampling to select the survey households and implemented a semi- structured questionnaire to respondents. The sampled villages (n = 16) represent a mosaic of urban and agricultural ecosystems within a radius of 40 km of Leh town. In 2016–2017, 93% of the sampled households lost livestock to predators, accounting for 0.93 animals per household per year. However, of the total events of livestock mortality, 33% were because of weather/natural events, 24% by snow leopards, 20% because of disease, 15% because of free-ranging dogs and 9% because of wolves. The annual economic loss per household because of livestock mortality was USD 371, a substantial loss given the average per capita income of USD 270 in the region. Of the total loss, weather/natural events caused highest loss of USD 131 (35%), followed by snow leopards USD 91 (25%), disease USD 87 (24%), free ranging dogs USD 48 (13%), and wolves USD 14 (4%). Despite losing a considerable proportion of livestock (33 %) to wild predators, respondents showed a positive attitude toward them but exhibited neutral attitudes toward free-ranging dogs. Gender emerged as the most important determinant of attitudes toward wild predators, with men showing higher positive attitude score toward wild predators than women. Our findings highlight the context specific variation in human-wildlife interactions and emphasize that generalizations must be avoided in the absence of site specific evidence.
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.
Thapa, K. (2005). 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.
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.
The Snow Leopard Conservancy. (2001). Visitor Attitude and Market Survey for Planning Community-based Tourism Initiatives in Rural Ladakh (Vol. SLC Field Series Document No. 2.). Los Gatos, California.
Abstract: Bounded by two of the world's highest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, Ladakh is a land of exhilarating mountain landscapes, rocky gorges and a unique cultural heritage. It is also home to distinctive wildlife such as the snow leopard, blue sheep and Tibetan wild ass, all living in a unique high altitude desert ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Ladakh is becoming a sought after tourist destination for international and domestic visitors alike. Over the past two decades tourism has grown substantially, although erratically, with both positive and less positive results for Ladakh's environment and people. People are recognizing that it is important to act now and engage in an informed dialogue in order to conserve the natural and cultural resources on which the future of tourism and related incomes depend. The Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC) is working in collaboration with local communities and nongovernmental organizations to foster co-existence between people and predators like the endangered snow leopard by reducing livestock depredation losses and improving household incomes in environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically viable ways. Well-balanced tourism is one income generating option.
ud Din, J. (2008). Assessing the Status of Snow Leopard in Torkhow Valley, District Chitral, Pakistan: Final Technical Report.
Abstract: This study was aimed at assessing the status of Snow leopard, its major prey base, and the extent of human-Snow leopard conflict and major threats to the wildlife in north Chitral (Torkhow valley) Pakistan. Snow leopard occurrence was conformed through sign transect surveys i.e. SLIMS. Based on the data collected the number of Snow leopards in this survey block (1022 Kmý) is estimated to be 2-3 animals. Comparing this estimate with the available data from other parts of the district the population of snow leopard in Chitral district was count to be 36 animals. Livestock depredation reports collected from the area reflect the existence of human-snow leopard conflict and 138 cases were recorded affecting 102 families (in a period of eight years, 2001-2008). Ungulates (Himalayan Ibex) rut season surveys were conducted in coordination with NWFP Wildlife department. A total of 429 animals were counted using direct count (point method) surveys. Other snow leopard prey species recorded include marmot, hare, and game birds. Signs of other carnivores i.e. wolf, jackal, and fox were also noticed. Major threats to the survival of wildlife especially snow leopard reckoned include retaliatory killing (Shooting, Poisoning), poaching, loss of natural prey, habitat degradation (over grazing, fodder and fuel wood collection), lack of awareness, and over population. GIS map of the study area was developed highlighting the area searched for Snow leopard and its prey species. Capacity of the Wildlife Department staff was built in conducting SLIMS and ungulate surveys through class room and on field training. Awareness regarding the importance of wildlife conservation was highlighted to the students, teachers and general community through lectures and distribution of resource materials developed by WWF-Pakistan.
Wangchuk, R., & Jackson, R. (2009). A Community-based Approach to Mitigating Livestock-Wildlife Conflict in Ladakh, India.
Abstract: Livestock depredation by snow leopard and wolf is widespread across the Himalayan region (Jackson et al. 1996, Jackson and Wangchuk 2001; Mishra 1997, Oli et al 1994). For example, in India's Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, Mishra (1997) reported losses amounting to 18% of the livestock holdings and valued at about US $138 per household. The villagers claimed predation rates increased after establishment of the sanctuary, but
surveys indicated a dramatic increase in livestock numbers accompanying changes in animal husbandry systems (Mishra 2000).