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McCarthy, T. M., & Chapron, G. (2003). Snow Leopard Survival Strategy. Seattle, USA: International Snow Leopard Trust and Snow Leopard Network.
Abstract: I. SNOW LEOPARD: REVIEW OF CURRENT KNOWLEDGE AND STATUS
This Snow Leopard Survival Strategy (SLSS) was undertaken to provide comprehensive conservation and research guidelines to ensure a range-wide coordinated effort in the fi ght to save the endangered snow leopard and had the following specific goals: Assess and prioritize threats to snow leopard survival on a geographic basis.
Defi ne and prioritize conservation, education, and policy measures appropriate to alleviate threats.
Prioritize subjects for snow leopard research and identify viable or preferred research methods.
Build a network of concerned scientists and conservationists to facilitate open dialogue and cross-border cooperation.
Gain consensus on a fundamental Snow Leopard Survival Strategy document that will be made available to the range states to aid conservation planning at national and local levels.
The highly participatory process started with a survey of specialists designed to gather information on perceived threats to snow leopards, appropriate actions to address threats, knowledge gaps, protected area status, policy and law issues, impediments to achieving conservation of snow leopards, and cultural relevance of snow leopards. Drafts of a Strategy were circulated and then the Snow Leopard Survival Summit was convened in Seattle, USA from 21-26 May 2002 and was attended by 58 of the specialists to debate issues and refi ne the Strategy. This SLSS document is the end product of that process. Background on the snow leopard The snow leopard (Uncia uncia) is a member of the Felidae subfamily Pantherinae and on the basis of morphology and behavior it is placed alone in a separate genus. They are found in 12 countries across Central Asia (China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia). China contains as much as 60% of the snow leopard's potential habitat. Inaccessible and difficult terrain, along with the secretive nature of this rare cat helps account for the fact that large parts of its range have yet to be surveyed. Between 4,500 and 7,350 snow leopards are thought to occur within a total potential habitat area of 1,835,000 km2. Snow leopards are generally solitary and mating usually occurs between late January and midMarch, and one to five cubs are born after a gestation period of 93 to 110 days, generally in June or July. Snow leopards are closely associated with the alpine and subalpine ecological zones, preferring broken, rocky terrain with vegetation that is dominated by shrubs or grasses. Home range size and shape is not well known. The home range size of five snow leopards in prime habitat in Nepal ranged from 12 to 39 km2, with substantial overlap between individuals and sexes. In Mongolia, where food resources may be scarcer, home ranges of both males and females exceeded 400 km2. Snow leopards are opportunistic predators capable of killing prey up to three times their own weight. They will also take small prey such as marmot or chukar partridge. In general, their most commonly taken prey consists of wild sheep and goats
(including blue sheep, Asian ibex, markhor, and argali). Adult snow leopards kill a large prey animal every 10-15 days, and remained on the kill for an average of 3-4 days, and sometimes up to a week. Predation on livestock can be significant, which often results in retribution killing by herders. Snow Leopards are listed as Endangered on the
IUCN Red List in that they do not meet the standards of Critically Endangered but are projected to decline by 50% or more over next 3 generations due to potential levels of exploitation (trade in pelts/bones and conflict with
livestock), and due to declining: 1) area of occupancy, 2) extent of occurrence, and 3) quality of habitat (prey depletion). They appear in Appendix I of both CITES and the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of
Wild Animals (CMS). Snow Leopards are protected nationally over most of its range, with the probable exception of Afghanistan. However, in some countries the relevant legislation may not always be very effective, e.g. because penalties are too low to function as deterrent, or they contain some significant loopholes.
II. THREATS AND CONSERVATION ACTIONS
This document attempts to list and discuss the threats, conservation actions and information needs pertinent to snow leopard survival. However, these vary substantially across the vast extent of snow leopard range, so no prescription will be universally applicable. We used a regional approach and for purposes of grouping areas where conditions may be similar, we looked at geography, political boundaries, cultural/religious influences, and rural livelihoods. Within that framework we defined four broad regions:
Karakorum/Hindu Kush (KK/HK),
Commonwealth of Independent States and W. China (CISWC),
The Northern Range of Russia, Mongolia and N. China (NRANG) SNOW LEOPARD SURVIVAL STRATEGY
Threats to Snow Leopard Survival
A key component of the SLSS process was to identify threats to long-term snow leopard survival across their range. The following list is the result of extensive consultations with stakeholders in Asia and the expert group at the SLSS Summit. Threats are grouped into four broad categories 1) Habitat and Prey related, 2) Direct Killing of Snow Leopards, 3) Policy and Awareness, and 4) Other Issues.
List of Threats
Category 1: Habitat and Prey Related
1.1 Habitat Degradation and Fragmentation
1.2 Reduction of Natural Prey due to Illegal Hunting
1.3 Reduction of Natural Prey due to Legal Hunting
1.4 Reduction of Natural Prey due to Competition with Livestock
1.5 Reduction of Natural Prey due to Disease
1.6 Fencing that Disrupts Natural Migration
Category 2: Direct Killing or Removal of Snow Leopards
2.1 Killing of Snow Leopards in Retribution for Livestock depredation
2.2 Poaching Snow Leopards for Trade in Hides or Bones
2.3 Museum Collection of Live Animals
2.4 Traditional Hunting of Snow Leopards
2.5 Secondary Poisoning and Trapping of Snow Leopards
2.6 Diseases of Snow Leopards
Category 3: Policy and Awareness
3.1 Lack of Appropriate Policy
3.2 Lack of Effective Enforcement
3.3 Lack of Trans-boundary Cooperation
3.4 Lack of Institutional Capacity
3.5 Lack of Awareness among Local People
3.6 Lack of Awareness among Policy Makers
Category 4: Other Issues
4.1 War and Related Military Activities
4.2 Climate Change
4.3 Human Population Growth and Poverty (indirect threat)
Potential Actions to Address Threats
Several methods are identified and elaborated in this document and they include:
Grazing Management: Promote livestock grazing practices that reduce impacts on native wildlife, in particular snow leopard prey species.
Wildlife-based Ecotourism: Establishing wildlife based tourism that provides jobs and financial benefits to local people will add economic value to wildlife and create incentives to protect the resource.
Cottage Industry: Provide income generation opportunities for communities in snow leopard habitat through handicraft manufacture and marketing opportunities with direct and transparent linkages to wildlife conservation via contracts that provides positive incentives for compliance.
Ungulate Trophy Hunting Programs: Establish or restructure trophy hunting programs that are sustainable, well monitored and provide return to local people as an incentive to protect ungulates. Community co-management of hunting program should be encouraged where ever appropriate.
Reducing Poaching and Trade in Snow Leopard Parts:
Determine location, nature and extent of snow leopard poaching for trade and bring pressure, both legal and educational, to limit same.
Reducing Livestock Depredation by Snow Leopards:
Encourage livestock husbandry practices that reduce depredation by snow leopards and other predators.
Animal Husbandry: Provide training in animal husbandry and veterinary care to improve monetary return at lower stock levels, limit exposure to predation, and reduce impacts on pasture and rangelands.
Conservation Education and Awareness: Raise awareness of snow leopard conservation issues, concerns, need for action, legal matters, etc, through variety of media among different audiences.
III. RESEARCH AND INFORMATION NEEDS
During the process of listing the threats to snow leopards and the required conservation actions, a set of information needs was also identified. Hence, the list below encompasses the knowledge required to carry-out urgent conservation actions.
Master List of Information Needs
R.1 Snow leopard distribution and “hot spots”
R.2 Snow leopard migration and dispersal routes
R.3 Snow leopard population size
R.4 Snow leopard population trends and factor responsible for changes
R.5 Protected Area coverage extent and representation of habitats (gap analysis)
R.6 Agents of habitat degradation and relative impacts
R.7 Snow leopard prey relationships
R.8 Prey species distribution and “hot spots”
R.9 Prey population baseline and trends
R.10 Dynamics of illegal ungulate hunting (sources, local need, uses, trade, etc.)
R.11 Dynamics of legal ungulate harvest and baseline statistics (sex/age, effort, trophy size, etc.)
R.12 Wild ungulate livestock interactions (competition)
R.13 Ungulate disease type, areas of occurrence, prevalence, virulence, treatment
R.14 Snow leopard poaching levels
R.15 Illegal trade in wildlife parts market demand, sources and routes, value, etc.
R.16 Livestock depredation rates
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R.17 Livestock depredation causes
R.18 Grazing pressure and range conditions
R.19 Snow leopard disease type, areas of occurrence, prevalence, virulence, treatment
R.20 Snow leopard home-range size and habitat use
R.21 Snow leopard social structure and behavior
R.22 Snow leopard population genetics
R.23 Snow leopard food habits
R.24 Snow leopard relationship to other predators
R.25 Economic valuation of snow leopards
R.26 Snow leopard monitoring techniques development/improvement
R.27 Socio-economic profiling of herder communities in snow leopard habitat
R.28 Methods to alleviate impacts of war
R.29 Livestock and human population status and trends
R.30 Analysis of existing policies and laws
R.31 Human attitudes to snow leopards
IV. COUNTRY ACTION PLANNING
The SLSS should be seen as a tool to aid in the development of country-specifi c Action Plans. In general Action
Planning leaders should review the SLSS and then:
Analyze the problems and choose the proper scale,
Identify the key stakeholders and integrate them into the planning process at the beginning, (i.e. ensure a broadly participatory process),
Choose a multi-level approach if the problems and stakeholders are particularly diverse,
Seek to identify achievable and appropriate actions,
Build monitoring of results into the Plan.
The Action Planning process need not be done in a vacuum. The Snow Leopard Network (see below), can provide much needed assistance in terms of expertise and advice during the planning process. Collectively, the SLN membership has experience in nearly every area of snow leopard related conservation, research, education, and policy. They can be approached for assistance through the International Snow Leopard Trust, 4649 Sunnyside
Ave. N., Suite 325, Seattle, Washington, 98103, USA, on their website http://www.snowleopard.org/sln/ or via email at <email@example.com>.
V. TAKING THE SLSS FORWARD
A key outcome of the SLSS Workshop was the creation of the Snow Leopard Network (SLN). The SLN is a partnership of organizations and individuals from government and private sector who work together for the effective conservation of the snow leopard, its prey, and their natural habitat to the benefi t of people and biodiversity.
The initial members of the SLN are the specialist who worked together on the SLSS. Carrying the SLSS forward was the impetus for developing the Network.
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.
Mitropolskiy O.V. (2004). Biodiversity of mammals in Uzbekistan: results of the studies; conservation, use and monitoring projects (Vol. N 8.).
Abstract: The article reviews conservation projects regarding valuable species of the West Tien Shan such as snow leopard, Tien Shan brown bear, Tien Shan and Karatau argali, Menzbier's marmot. The questioning revealed three cases of poaching snow leopard in the West Tien Shan in Kazakhstan, and 11 in Uzbekistan. A necessity to severely suppress any acts of poaching or skin trade is emphasized. A number of measures is suggested to preserve the species.
Persianova L.A. (1983). Snow leopard, or irbis Uncia uncia Scheber, 1775 (Vol. Vol. 1.).
Abstract: Status of snow leopard in Uzbek Red Data Book is rare species with reducing population. It provides data concerning distribution, habitats, biology, threats, and existing and required snow leopard protection measures in Uzbekistan. This species is distributed in the Kurama, Chatkal, Pskem, Ugam, Turkistan, and Gissar ridges. Its population is about 10 animals. There are two snow leopards in the Tashkent zoo. This species is protected in Zaamin, Kizilsu, Miraka, and Chatkal nature reserves.
Raghavan, B., Bhatnagar, Y., & Qureshi, Q. (2003). Interactions between livestock and Ladakh urial (Ovis vignei vignei); final report.
Abstract: The Ladakh urial (Ovis vignei vignei) is a highly endangered animal (IUCN Red List 2000) listed in the Appendix 1 of CITES and Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Its numbers had been reduced to a few hundred individuals in the 1960s and 70s through hunting for trophies and meat (Fox et al. 1991, Mallon 1983, Chundawat and Qureshi 1999, IUCN Red List 2000). However, with the protection bestowed by the IWPA 1972, and resultant decrease in hunting, the population seems to have shown a marginal increase to about 1000-1500 individuals in its range in Ladakh (Chundawat and Qureshi 1999, IUCN Red List 2000). Although the species had in the past, been able to coexist with the predominantly Buddhist society of Ladakh, the recent increase in the population of both humans and their livestock has placed immense pressures on its habitat (Shackleton 1997, Chundawat and Qureshi 1999, Raghavan and Bhatnagar 2003). This is especially important considering that the Ladakh urial habitat coincides with the areas of maximum human activity in terms of settlements, agriculture, pastoralism and development, in Ladakh (Fox et al. 1991, Chundawat and Qureshi 1999, Raghavan and Bhatnagar 2003). Increased developmental activities such as construction of roads, dams, and military bases in these areas have also increased the access to their habitat. This has consequently made the species more vulnerable to the threats of poaching and habitat destruction (Fox et al. 1991, Chundawat and Qureshi 1999, Raghavan and Bhatnagar 2002). Pressure from increased livestock grazing is one of the major threats faced by the species today (Shackleton 1997, Fox et al. 1991, Mallon 1983, IUCN Red List 2000 Chundawat and Qureshi 1999, Raghavan and Bhatnagar 2003). In the impoverished habitat provided by the Trans-Himalayas, there is great competition for the scarce resources between various animal species surviving here (Fox 1996, Mishra 2001). The presence of livestock intensifies this competition and can either force the species out of its niche (competitive exclusion) by displacing it from that area or resource, or lead to partitioning of resources between the species, spatially or temporally, for coexistence (Begon et al. 1986, Gause 1934).
Sumiya, G., Buyantsog, B., & WWF Mongolia Country Office. (2002). Conservation of Snow Leopard in the Turgen and Tsagaan Shuvuut Mountains Through Local Involvement.. Islt: Islt.
Suryawanshi, K. R. (2009). Towards snow leopard prey recovery: understanding the resource use strategies and demographic responses of bharal Pseudois nayaur to livestock grazing and removal; Final project report.
Abstract: Decline of wild prey populations in the Himalayan region, largely due to competition with livestock, has been identified as one of the main threats to the snow leopard Uncia uncia. Studies show that bharal Pseudois nayaur diet is dominated by graminoids during summer, but the proportion of graminoids declines in winter. We explore the causes for the decline of graminoids from bharal winter diet and resulting implications for bharal conservation. We test the predictions generated by two alternative hypotheses, (H1) low graminoid availability caused by livestock grazing during winter causes bharal to include browse in their diet, and, (H2) bharal include browse, with relatively higher nutrition, to compensate for the poor quality of graminoids during winter. Graminoid availability was highest in areas without livestock grazing, followed by areas with moderate and intense livestock grazing. Graminoid quality in winter was relatively lower than that of browse, but the difference was not statistically significant. Bharal diet was dominated by graminoids in areas with highest graminoid availability. Graminoid contribution to bharal diet declined monotonically with a decline in graminoid availability. Bharal young to female ratio was three times higher in areas with high graminoid availability than areas with low graminoid availability. No starvation-related adult mortalities were observed in any of the areas. Composition of bharal winter diet was governed predominantly by the availability of graminoids in the rangelands. Since livestock grazing reduces graminoid availability, creation of livestock free areas is necessary for conservation of grazing species such as the bharal and its predators such as the endangered snow leopard in the Trans-Himalaya.
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.
Vyrypaev V.A. (1979). Ecologic prerequisites for predatory mammal conservation in the mountain biocenosis of the Issyk-Kul area.
Abstract: A decreasing number of predatory mammal species is connected with anthropogenic activity. Number of snow leopard is directly dependent on anthropogenic activity. A snow leopard population directly depends on food resources, such as ibex, marmot, rarer – argali and snow-cock in summer, and ibex, roe-deer, and rarer argali in winter.