Augugliaro, C., Paniccia, C., Janchivlamdan, C., Monti, I. E., Boldbaatar, T., Munkhtsog, B. (2019). Mammal inventory in the Mongolian Gobi, with the southeasternmost documented record of the Snow Leopard, Panthera uncia (Schreber, 1775), in the country. Check List, 15(4), 575–578.
Abstract: Studies on mammal diversity and distribution are an important source to develop conservation and management strategies.
The area located in southern Mongolia, encompassing the Alashan Plateau Semi-Desert and the Eastern Gobi Desert-Steppe ecoregions, is considered strategic for the conservation of threatened species. We surveyed the non-volant mammals in the Small Gobi-A Strictly Protected Area (SPA) and its surroundings, by using camera trapping, live trapping, and occasional sightings. We recorded 18 mammal species belonging to 9 families and 6 orders. Among them, 4 are globally threatened or near-threatened, 2 are included in the CITES Appendix I, and 2 are listed in the Appendix II. Moreover, we provide the southeasternmost record for the Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) in Mongolia, supported by photographic evidence. Our study highlights the importance of this protected area to preserve rare, threatened, and elusive species.
Farhadinia, M. S., Maheshwari, A., Nawaz, M. A., Ambarli, H., Gritsina, M. A., Koshkin, M. A., Rosen, T., Hinsley, A., Macdonald, D. W. (2019). Belt and Road Initiative may create new supplies for illegal wildlife trade in large carnivores.
Hanson, J. H., Schutgens, M., Leader-Williams, N. (2019). What factors best explain attitudes to snow leopards in the Nepal Himalayas? PLoS ONE, , 1–19.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia is a vulnerable wild felid native to mountainous regions of 12 Asian countries. It faces numerous overlapping threats, including killings by herders retaliating against livestock losses, the illegal wildlife trade, loss of prey and habitat, infra- structure, energy and mining developments, and climate change. The species ranges over large territories that often lie outside of protected areas (PA), so coexistence with human populations across its range is key to its persistence. Human attitudes to snow leopards may be an important factor to consider in reducing overlapping threats to this species. How- ever, this nexus has not been widely studied to date. Attitudes to snow leopard conserva- tion, including actors and interventions, may also be a significant aspect of coexistence. These have also received limited empirical attention. This study therefore explored human attitudes to snow leopards and to snow leopard conservation, the motivations for these atti- tudes and the individual factors that best explained them. Using systematic sampling, a quantitative questionnaire was administered to 705 households at two sites in the Nepal Himalayas: Sagarmatha National Park, with a less decentralised governance model, and Annapurna Conservation Area, with a more decentralised model. Linear regression models were the main form of analysis. Based on these, attitudes to snow leopard conservation emerged as the strongest influence on local attitudes to snow leopards, and vice versa. This was true in both PAs, despite their differing management regimes. Other important explana- tory factors included numbers of livestock owned, years of education, household livelihoods and age. Furthermore, a positive intrinsic motivation was the most common reason given by respondents to explain their attitudes to both snow leopards and snow leopard conservation. These findings demonstrate that, in addition to the usual suite of factors that influence atti- tudes to a species, the way in which its conservation is pursued and perceived also needs consideration. How the snow leopard is conserved may strongly influence its coexistence with local communities.
Li, J., Weckworth, B. V., McCarthy, T. M., Liang, X., Liu, Y., Xing, R., Li, D., Zhang, Y., Xue, Y., Jackson, R., Xiao, L., Cheng, C., Li, S., Xu, F., Ma, M., Yang, X., Diao, K., Gao, Y., Song, D., Nowell, K., He, B., Li, Y., McCarthy, K., Paltsyn, M. Y., Sharma, K., Mishra, C., Schaller, G. B., Lu, Z., Beissinger, S. R. (2019). Defining priorities for global snow leopard conservation landscapes. Biological Conservation, 241(108387), 1–10.
Abstract: The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is an apex predator on the Tibetan Plateau and in the surrounding mountain ranges. It is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN's Red List. The large home range and low population densities of this species mandate range-wide conservation prioritization. Two efforts for range-wide snow leopard conservation planning have been conducted based on expert opinion, but both were constrained by limited knowledge and the difficulty of evaluating complex processes, such as connectivity across large landscapes. Here, we compile > 6000 snow leopard occurrence records from across its range and corresponding environmental covariates to build a model of global snow leopard habitat suitability. Using spatial prioritization tools, we identi!ed seven large continuous habitat patches as global snow leopard Landscape Conservation Units (LCUs). Each LCU faces differing threat levels from poaching, anthropogenic development, and climate change. We identi!ed ten po- tential inter-LCU linkages, and centrality analysis indicated that Tianshan-Pamir-Hindu Kush-Karakorum, Altai, and the linkage between them play a critical role in maintaining the global snow leopard habitat connectivity.
Aruge, S., Batool, H., Khan, F. M., Abbas, F. I., Janjua, S. (2019). A pilot study�genetic diversity and population structure of snow leopards of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, using molecular techniques. PeerJ, (7672), 1–14.
Abstract: Background: The Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges in Pakistan�s northern areas are a natural habitat of the snow leopard (Panthera uncia syn. Uncia uncia) but the ecological studies on this animal are scarce since it is human shy by nature and lives in dif!cult mountainous tracts. The pilot study is conducted to exploit the genetic diversity and population structure of the snow leopard in this selected natural habitat of the member of the wildcat family in Pakistan.
Method: About 50 putative scat samples of snow leopard from !ve localities of Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan) along with a control sample of zoo maintained male snow leopard were collected for comparison. Signi!cant quality and quantity of genomic DNA was extracted from scat samples using combined Zhang�phenol�chloroform method and successful ampli!cation of cytochrome c oxidase I gene (190 bp) using mini-barcode primers, seven simple sequence repeats (SSR) markers and Y-linked AMELY gene (200 bp) was done.
Results: Cytochrome c oxidase I gene sequencing suggested that 33/50 (66%) scat samples were of snow leopard. AMELY primer suggested that out of 33 ampli!ed samples, 21 (63.63%) scats were from male and 12 (36.36%) from female leopards. Through successful ampli!cation of DNA of 25 out of 33 (75.75%) scat samples using SSR markers, a total of 68 alleles on seven SSR loci were identi!ed, showing low heterozygosity, while high gene "ow between population.
Discussion: The low gene flow rate among the population results in low genetic diversity causing decreased diversi!cation. This affects the adaptability to climatic changes, thus ultimately resulting in decreased population size of the species.
Rovero, F., Augugliaro, C., Havmoller, R. W., Groff, C., Zimmerman, F., Oberosler, V., Tenan, S. (2018). Co-occurrence of snow leopard Panthera uncia, Siberian ibex Capra sibirica and livestock: potential relationships and effects. Oryx, , 1–7.
Abstract: Understanding the impact of livestock on native
wildlife is of increasing conservation relevance. For the
Vulnerable snow leopard Panthera uncia, wild prey reduction,
intensifying human�wildlife conflicts and retaliatory
killings are severe threats potentially exacerbated by the
presence of livestock. Elucidating patterns of co-occurrence
of snow leopards, wild ungulate prey, and livestock, can be
used to assess the compatibility of pastoralism with conservation.
We used camera trapping to study the interactions of
livestock, Siberian ibex Capra sibirica and snow leopards in
a national park in the Altai mountains, Mongolia. We obtained
 detections of wild mammals and  of domestic
ungulates, dogs and humans. Snow leopards and Siberian
ibex were recorded  and  times, respectively. Co-occurrence
modelling showed that livestock had a higher estimated
occupancy (.) than ibex, whose occupancy was
lower in the presence of livestock (.) than in its absence
(.�. depending on scenarios modelled). Snow leopard
occupancy did not appear to be affected by the presence of
livestock or ibex but the robustness of such inference was
limited by uncertainty around the estimates. Although our
sampling at presumed snow leopard passing sites may have
led to fewer ibex detections, results indicate that livestock
may displace wild ungulates, but may not directly affect
the occurrence of snow leopards. Snow leopards could still
be threatened by livestock, as overstocking can trigger
human�carnivore conflicts and hamper the conservation
of large carnivores. Further research is needed to assess
the generality and strength of our results.
Maheshwari, A., Niraj, S. K. (2018). Monitoring illegal trade in snow leopards: 2003e2014. Elsevier, , 1–6.
Abstract: Illegal trade in snow leopards (Panthera uncia) has been identified as one of the major
threats to long-term survival of the species in the wild. To quantify severity of the threats
to dwindling snow leopard population, we examined market and questionnaire surveys,
and information from the published and unpublished literature on illegal trade and
poaching of snow leopards.We collected information from 11 of the 12 snow leopard range
counties in central and southern Asia, barring Kazakhstan, and reported 439 snow leopards
(88 records) in illegal trade during 2003e2014, which represents a loss of approximately
8.4%e10.9% snow leopard population (assuming mid-point population of 5240 to
minimum population of 4000 individuals) in a period of 12 years. Our data suggested a 61%
decadal increase in snow leopard trade during 2003e2012 compared with 1993e2002,
while taking the note of significant strengthening of wildlife enforcement and crime
control network in the decades of 2000s and 2010s. We found 50% prosecution rate of
snow leopard crimes resulting in only 20% conviction rate globally. Many limitations e.g.,
secretive nature of illegal trade, ill developed enforcement mechanism, poor and passive
documentation of snow leopards' seizures, restricted us to reflect actual trend of snow
leopards' illegal trade. Even on a conservative scale the present situation is alarming and
may detrimental to snow leopard conservation. We propose an effective networking of
enforcement efforts and coordination among the law enforcement agencies, efficient
collection of data and data management, and sharing of intelligence in snow leopard range
countries, could be useful in curbing illegal trade in snow leopards in central and southern
Schutgens, M. G., Hanson, J. H., Baral, N., Ale, S. B. (2018). Visitors’ willingness to pay for snow leopard Panthera uncia conservation in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Oryx, , 1–10.
Abstract: The Vulnerable snow leopard Panthera uncia experiences
persecution across its habitat in Central Asia, particularly
from herders because of livestock losses. Given the
popularity of snow leopards worldwide, transferring some
of the value attributed by the international community to
these predators may secure funds and support for their conservation.
We administered contingent valuation surveys to
 international visitors to the Annapurna Conservation
Area, Nepal, between May and June , to determine
their willingness to pay a fee to support the implementation
of a Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan. Of the %of
visitors who stated they would pay a snow leopard conservation
fee in addition to the existing entry fee, the mean
amount that they were willing to pay was USD  per trip.
The logit regression model showed that the bid amount, the
level of support for implementing the Action Plan, and the
number of days spent in the Conservation Area were significant
predictors of visitors’ willingness to pay. The main reasons
stated by visitors for their willingness to pay were a
desire to protect the environment and an affordable fee. A
major reason for visitors’ unwillingness to pay was that
the proposed conservation fee was too expensive for them.
This study represents the first application of economic valuation
to snow leopards, and is relevant to the conservation of
threatened species in the Annapurna Conservation Area
Mei, S., Alexander, J. S., Zhao, X., Cheng, C., Lu, Z. (2018). Common leopard and snow leopard co-existence in Sanjiangyuan,Qinghai, China. Cat News, (67), 18–20.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia, classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, is distributed
across the mountainous areas of 12 countries in South and Central Asia. The common
leopard Panthera pardus, also classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, has the widest
geographic distribution among all wild cats and inhabits many countries of Africa
and Asia. The common leopard is much bigger than the snow leopard. Sightings of
both species in the same location have recently been reported from the Autonomous
Region of Tibet and Sichuan, China. We conducted a camera trap survey to verify the
presence of these large carnivores using camera traps in Niandu and Yunta villages
of Qinghai province, China. In both areas camera trap stations captured both species,
identifying seven adult snow leopard and four adult common leopard individuals.
Our study provides the first photographic evidence of common leopard presence in
Qinghai province and confirms the co-existence of snow leopards and common leopards
in the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve. A more detailed study will be
conducted to investigate the distribution and interaction of the two species along
Tongtianhe and Zhaqu rivers, Qinghai province, in order to enhance efforts for their
Mijiddorj, T. N., Alexander, J. S., Samelius, G. (2018). Livestock depredation by large carnivores in the South Gobi, Mongolia. Wildlife Research, , A-J.
Abstract: Context. Livestock depredation is a major conservation challenge around the world, causing considerable economical losses to pastoral communities and often result in retaliatory killing. In Mongolia, livestock depredation rates are thought to be increasing due to changes in pastoral practices and the transformation of wild habitats into pasture lands. Few studies have examined the interactions between humans and carnivores and even fewer have considered how recent changes in pastoral practices may affect depredation rates.
Aim. This study aimed to assess the influence of herding practices on self-reported livestock losses to snow leopards and wolves in two communities in South Gobi, Mongolia. Methods. In total, 144 herder households were interviewed and an information-theoretic approach was used to analyse the factors influencing self-reported livestock losses to snow leopards and wolves. Key results. The majority of self-reported losses to both snow leopards and wolves occurred when herds were left unattended in the pastures. The economic loss associated with livestock losses to snow leopards and wolves amounted to an average loss of US$825 per herder and year. The number of livestock owned by a household and the frequency of shifting campsite had the strongest influence on livestock losses to snow leopards and wolves. Other determinants of livestock losses included frequency of visiting the soum (county) centre. Implications. On the basis of the findings, we make recommendations for mitigating the conflict with large carnivores, with focus on guiding future herding practices.