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LI. J, W. A. N. G. D., YIN. H, ZHAXI. D, JIAGONG. Z, SCHALLER. G. B, MISHRA. C, MCCARTHY. T. M, WANG. H, WU. L, XIAO. L, BASANG. L, ZHANG. Y, ZHOU. Y, LU. Z. (2013). Role of Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries in Snow Leopard Conservation. Conservation Biology, 00, 1–8.
Abstract: The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) inhabits the rugged mountains in 12 countries of Central Asia,
including the Tibetan Plateau. Due to poaching, decreased abundance of prey, and habitat degradation, it was listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 1972. Current conservation strategies, including nature reserves and incentive programs, have limited capacities to protect snow leopards. We investigated the role of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in snow leopard conservation in the Sanjiangyuan region in China’s Qinghai Province on the Tibetan Plateau. From 2009 to 2011, we systematically surveyed snow leopards in the Sanjiangyuan region. We used the MaxEnt model to determine the relation of their presence to environmental variables (e.g., elevation, ruggedness) and to predict snow leopard distribution. Model results showed 89,602 km2 of snow leopard habitat in the Sanjiangyuan region, of which 7674 km2 lay within Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve’s core zones. We analyzed the spatial relation between snow leopard habitat and Buddhist monasteries and found that 46% of monasteries were located in snow leopard habitat and 90% were within 5 km of snow leopard habitat. The 336 monasteries in the Sanjiangyuan region could protect more snow leopard habitat (8342 km2) through social norms and active patrols than the nature reserve’s core zones. We conducted 144 household interviews to identify local herders’ attitudes and behavior toward snow leopards and other wildlife. Most local herders claimed that they did not kill wildlife, and 42% said they did not kill wildlife because it was a sin in Buddhism. Our results indicate monasteries play an important role in snow leopard conservation. Monastery-based snow leopard conservation could be extended to other Tibetan Buddhist regions that in total would encompass about 80% of the global range of snow leopards.
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.
Lovari, S., Minder, I., Ferretti, F., Mucci, N., Randi, E., Pellizzi, B. (2013). Common and snow leopards share prey, but not habitats: competition avoidance by large predators. Journal of Zoology, 291, 127–135.
Abstract: Resource exploitation and behavioural interference underlie competition among
carnivores. Competition is reduced by specializing on different prey and/or spatiotemporal
separation, usually leading to different food habits. We predicted that
two closely related species of large cats, the endangered snow leopard and the
near-threatened common leopard, living in sympatry, would coexist through
habitat separation and exploitation of different prey species. In central Himalaya,
we assessed (2006–2010) habitat and diet overlap between these carnivores. The
snow leopard used grassland and shrubland, whereas the common leopard
selected forest. Contrary to our prediction, snow leopard and common leopard
preyed upon similar wild (Himalayan tahr, musk deer) and domestic species (Bos
spp., dogs). Dietary overlap between snow leopard and common leopard was 69%
(yearly), 76% (colder months) and 60% (warmer months). Thus, habitat separation
should be the result of other factors, most likely avoidance of interspecific
aggression. Habitat separation may not always lead to the use of different prey.
Avoidance of interspecific aggression, rather than exploitation of different
resources, could allow the coexistence of potentially competing large predators.
Lovari, S., Ventimiglia, M., Minder, I. (2013). Food habits of two leopard species, competition, climate change and upper treeline: a way to the decrease of an endangered species? Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 25(4), 305–318.
Abstract: For carnivore species, spatial avoidance is one of the evolutionary solutions to
coexist in an area, especially if food habits overlap and body sizes tend to coincide.
We reviewed the diets of two large cats of similar sizes, the endangered snow leopard
(Panthera uncia, 16 studies) and the near-threatened common leopard (Panthera par-
dus, 11 studies), in Asia. These cats share ca 10,000 km2 of their mountainous range,
although snow leopards tend to occur at a significantly higher altitude than common
leopards, the former being a cold-adapted species of open habitats, whereas the latter
is an ecologically flexible one, with a preference for woodland. The spectrum of prey
of common leopards was 2.5 times greater than that of snow leopards, with wild prey
being the staple for both species. Livestock rarely contributed much to the diet. When
the breadth of trophic niches was compared, overlap ranged from 0.83 (weight categories)
to one (main food categories). As these leopard species have approximately
the same size and comparable food habits, one can predict that competition will arise
when they live in sympatry. On mountains, climate change has been elevating the
upper forest limit, where both leopard species occur. This means a habitat increase
for common leopards and a substantial habitat reduction for snow leopards, whose
range is going to be squeezed between the forest and the barren rocky altitudes, with
medium- to long-term undesirable effects on the conservation of this endangered cat
Bischof, R., Hameed, S., Ali, H., Kabir, M., Younas, M., Shah, K. A., Din, J. U., Nawaz, M. A. (2013). Using time-to-event analysis to complement hierarchical methods when assessing determinants of photographic detectability during camera trapping. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, .
Abstract: 1. Camera trapping, paired with analytical methods for estimating occupancy, abundance and other ecological parameters, can yield information with direct consequences for wildlife management and conservation. Although ecological information is the primary target of most camera trap studies, detectability influences every aspect from design to interpretation.
2. Concepts and methods of time-toevent analysis are directly applicable to camera trapping, yet this statistical field has thus far been ignored as a way to analyze photographic capture data. to illustrate the use to time-to-event statistics and to better understand how photographic evidence accumulates, we explored patterns in tow related measure of detectability: Detection probability and time to detection. We analyzed camera trap data for three sympatric carnivores ( snow Leopard, red fox and stone marten) in the mountains of northern Pakistan and tested predictions about patterns in detectability across species, sites and time.
3. We found species-specific differences in the magnitude of detectability and the factors influencing it, reinforcing the need to consider determinants of detectability in study design and to account for them during analysis. Photographic detectability of snow leopard was noticeably lower than that of red fox, but comparable to detectability of stone marten. Site-specific attributes such as the presence of carnivore sign ( snow Leopard), terrain ( snow leopard and red fox) and application for lures ( red fox) influenced detectability. For the most part, detection probability was constant over time.
4. Species- specific differences in factors determining detectability make camera trap studies targeting multiple species particularly vulnerable to misinterpretation if the hierarchical origin of the data is ignored. Investigators should consider not only the magnitude of detectability, but also the shape of the curve describing the cumulative process of photographic detection, as this has consequences for both determining survey effort and the election of analytical models. Weighted time-to -event analysis can complement occupancy analysis and other hierarchal methods by providing additional tools for exploring camera trap data and testing hypotheses regarding the temporal aspect of photographic evidence accumulation.
Mallon, D. (2013). Trophy Hunting of Cites-Listed Species in Central Asia.
Abstract: Executive Summary:
The report is part of a project aiming to strengthen capacities to implement CITES, especially in
Central Asia and to satisfy the CITES‐related requirements of trading partners, to prevent
overexploitation and to ensure legal international trade in wild fauna and flora does not exceed
sustainable levels. The objective is to enhance the policies and regulations concerning trophy
hunting in selected range States of the Argali Ovis ammon: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian
Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and to provide a framework for the establishment of
sustainable hunting programmes that support conservation. This report is focused on the relevance
of trophy hunting for conservation and associated local livelihoods.
Sustainable use of biological diversity is an integral part of the Convention on Biodiversity (1992) and
is seen as a valuable tool in conserving biological diversity. The Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines
(AAPG) set out the basis for sustainable use of natural resources. The IUCN SSC1 Guiding Principles on
Trophy Hunting as a Tool for Creating Conservation Incentives, and the European Charter on Hunting
and Biodiversity provide further guidance on the sustainability of trophy hunting, including on highly
threatened species. The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) together
with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has also developed Best
Practice Guidelines for trophy hunting.
All five project countries are Parties to CITES, except Tajikistan, which has begun the accession
process. Argali are the focus of the trophy hunting in the region and they represent the most
expensive trophy in the five project countries. Other CITES‐listed hunting species are Brown Bear
Ursus arctos, Wolf Canis lupus, Musk Deer Moschus moschiferus, Eurasian Lynx Lynx lynx (all mainly
in Russia) and Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata. Markhor Capra falconeri and Urial Ovis
orientalis have also been hunted at times but are not the object of regular trophy hunting
programmes at present. Other widely hunted species are not listed in the CITES Appendices.
A recent analysis by TRAFFIC of the CITES trade database showed that 10 245 hunting trophy items
from species listed in the CITES Appendices were exported from the project countries between 2000
and 2010. Almost all trophy items consisted of Argali, Brown Bear and Wolf. Most were exported
from Russia (9473 trophies), with smaller numbers from Tajikistan (705), Kyrgyzstan (668), and
Kazakhstan (126), and 13 from Uzbekistan.
In the region, wildlife is generally the property of the State, which awards rights to use it to
individuals or other entities. National legislation covering hunting and wildlife protection may refer
to sustainable use but this is undefined. The legal rights of local communities are also not generally
specified. FAO and CIC produced a review of national legislation that set out in detail the basic
principles of sustainable wildlife management laws (2008). One of the main findings was that
legislative frameworks in the region frequently consisted of different legal instruments that were not
always harmonized and sometimes overlapped. In some cases, there was also a lack of institutional
clarity, with overlapping jurisdictions among different agencies.
Poaching for meat and trophies or commercial products is a significant factor across the whole
region, negatively affecting all the main hunting species, as well as protected species. Wild
populations have been reduced, sometimes drastically so. Poaching of Argali and other mountain
ungulates may be carried out by military or border personnel and is not restricted to areas outside
formal nature reserves: indeed, law enforcement and protected area staff are sometimes complicit
in illegal hunting, driven in part by the very low salaries. There are numerous recent examples of
poaching and illegal trade in trophies of CITES‐listed species. The actual level of illegal off‐take is
unknown. Known cases may represent a very small fraction of the real total. The wildlife
conservation sector is under‐resourced across the region with a lack of funding, trained personnel,
transport and other equipment severely limiting the effectiveness of anti‐poaching efforts.
Memoranda of Understanding under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS MoUs) and their
associated action plans for Saiga Saiga tatarica and Bukhara Deer Cervus elaphus bactrianus have
proven to be effective instruments in facilitating species recovery. A CMS Single Species Action Plan
for Argali is in preparation (Roettger & Singh, in prep) and will provide a framework for conservation.
Trophy hunting in the region is predominantly organized on a commercial basis. Community‐based
hunting initiatives in the region are in their infancy and face some legal and institutional obstacles.
There are however promising developments: for example, five community‐based NGOs in Tajikistan
are managing wildlife in legally assigned areas and three of them have hosted hunting clients (on
non‐CITES species). Well‐developed community‐based trophy hunting programmes operate in
Pakistan, targeted at Markhor Capra falconeri which is listed in CITES Appendix I, and in Namibia,
which is widely seen as a leader in such programmes, and while the specific conditions and sociopolitical
background of both differ in several ways from those in the region, they nonetheless
provide instructive guidance on the principles of successful community conservancy organization.
There is an extensive literature on trophy hunting, its potential to contribute to conservation of
biodiversity and local livelihoods, and the potential negative effects of selective harvesting on
species. The consensus view seems to be that selective harvest of trophy‐age males does not impact
negatively in the short term, if only a low proportion of the available trophy‐age individuals are
harvested, but uncontrolled harvest can lead to a decline in horn size and thus trophy quality, as well
as have negative demographic effects. Trophy hunting programmes raise substantial revenues in
some African countries, and in the best cases significant sums are received at community or
conservancy level. However, this is not universally the case and inequitable benefit sharing remains
a major challenge to be overcome. Good governance is an essential requirement when developing
hunting and other forms of community based management initiative.
A possible decline in size of Argali trophies in Kyrgyzstan has been reported and determining
whether this is actually the case, and the causes, is a priority. Standardized monitoring, involvement
of independent experts, transparency in quota setting and allocation of licences are all seen as
prerequisites of well‐managed and sustainable hunting operations. Allocation of long‐term leases for
concessions is needed to motivate managers to invest in anti‐poaching and other conservation
measures and remove the temptation for short‐term profit that threatens the sustainability of the
Developing all forms of Community‐based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) – trophy hunting
and tourism – is also recommended. As the concept is still new to many parts of the region, and the
legal‐political background is not always sympathetic, building on examples of existing community
conservancies (in Tajikistan) or where there is an administrative basis for local management of
resources (Kyrgyzstan), is likely to be effective. Ensuring that communities and conservancies are
legally empowered to manage and utilise wildlife and to receive revenues for such use is a basic
Recommendations on good practice are set out in several publications and salient points relevant to the region are highlighted.
Janecka, J. E., Alves, P., Karmacharya, D., Samsel, N., Cheng, E., Tallmom, D., Schwartz, M. (2013). Wildlife Genetics in Mountainous Rugged Asian Landscapes: Methods, Applications and Examples. In Wildlife Research Techniques in rugged Mountainous Asian Landscapes (pp. 44–91).
Rodgers, T. W., Janecka, J. E. (2013). Applications and techniques for non-invasive faecal genetics research in felid conservation.
Abstract: Non-invasive genetic techniques utilising DNA extracted from faeces hold great promise for felid conservation research. These methods can be used to establish species
distributions, model habitat requirements, analyse diet, estimate abundance and population density, and form the basis for population, landscape and conservation genetic analyses. Due to the elusive nature of most felid species, non-invasive genetic methods have the potential to provide
valuable data that cannot be obtained with traditional observational or capture techniques. Thus, these methods are particularly valuable for research and conservation of endangered
felid species. Here, we review recent studies that use non-invasive faecal genetic techniques to survey or study wild felids; provide an overview of field, laboratory and analysis techniques; and offer suggestions on how future non-invasive genetic studies can be expanded or improved to more effectively support conservation.
Suraj Upadhaya. (2012). Junior Ranger Program: Initiatives for Biodiversity Conservation. Himalayas Nepal, (Nov 2011 - Feb 2012).
Abstract: The didactic Junior Ranger Program, whci was unique not onl in dolpa District, but also in the whole Nepal, was developed im such a way that each student gets an overview about the environment and its importance's on our life. The curriculum makes each and every student clear about the pollution, population, and basic needs for life, natural resources, corrective measures, and rold for environment conservation. Among all, the most improtant and interesting topic was about Snow Leopard. Being a student from the home of Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia), I always get fascinated by this charismatic species.
Shehzad, W. M. C., Thomas Michael. Pompanon, Francois. Purejav, Lkhagvajav. Coissac, Eric. Riaz, Tiayyba. Taberlet, Pierre. (2012). Prey Preference of Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia) in South Gobi, Mongolia. PLoS ONE, (Feb 2012).
Abstract: Accurate information about the diet of large carnivores that are elusive and inhabit inaccessible terrain, is required to properly design conservation strategies. Predation on livestock and retaliatory killing of predators have become serious issues throughout the range of the snow leopard. These techniques have inherent limitation in their ability to properly identify both snow leopard feces and prey taxa, To examine the frequency of livestock prey and and nearly-threatened argali in the diet of the snow leopard, we employed the recently developed DNA-based diet approach to study a snow leopard population located in the Tost Mountains, South Gobi, Mongolia. After DNA was extracted from the feces, a region of ~100 bp long from mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene was amplified, making use of universal primers for vertebrates and a blocking oligonucleotide specific to snow leopard DNA. The amplicons were then sequenced using a next-generation sequencing platform. We observed a total of five different prey items from 81 fecal samples. Siberian ibex predominated the diet (in 70.4% of the feces), followed by domestic goat (17.3%) and argali sheep (8.6%). The major part of the diet was comprised of large ungulates (in 98.8% of the feces) including wild ungulates (79%) and domestic livestock (19.7%). The findings of the present study will help to understand the feeding ecology of the snow leopard, as well as to address the conservation and management issues pertaining to this wild cat.