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.
Farrington, J., Tsering, D. (2019). Human-snow leopard conflict in the Chang Tang region of Tibet, China. Biological Conservation, 237, 504–513.
Abstract: In April 2006, the authors conducted a preliminary human-wildlife conflict survey of 300 livestock herders in Shainza, Nyima, and Tsonyi Counties in northern Tibet's sparsely-populated Chang Tang region. This survey revealed a widespread but previously undocumented problem of snow leopard predation on livestock. In June and July 2007, an exploratory human-snow leopard conflict survey of 234 herders in the above counties found that 65.8% of respondents had experienced conflict with snow leopards in the form of livestock kills, with 77.3% of the most recent incidents occurring in the previous five years. These incidents were concentrated in winter and spring and a surprising 39.6% of incidents occurred during the day, often with herders present. Fifteen exploratory snow leopard sign transects totaling 14.85 km were conducted. Abundant snow leopard scrapes as well as pug marks were found, confirming the presence of these secretive cats. A total of 521 blue sheep were counted on and off sign transects indicating widespread availability of wild snow leopard prey. The recent surge in reported snow leopard conflict is likely due to increasing human and livestock populations, establishment of two multiple-use nature reserves accompanied by improved enforcement of wildlife protection laws, and a regional gun and trap ban launched in 2001. However, retaliatory killing of snow leopards in the survey area continues to be a potential threat. Therefore, measures are needed to reduce livestock kills by snow leopards, including corral improvements, improved guarding, establishment of livestock compensation schemes, and educating herders about snow leopard behavior.
Vannelli, K., Hampton, M. P., Namgail, T., Black, S. A. (2019). Community participation in ecotourism and its effect on local
perceptions of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) conservation. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, , 1–14.
Abstract: Local support and involvement is often essential for effective
wildlife conservation. This study assessed the impact of local
involvement in ecotourism schemes on perceptions of wildlife, promotion
of conservation action, types of values that communities placed on
wildlife, and contexts in which wildlife are considered to be most
valuable. The study used qualitative semi-structured interviews
conducted in seven villages in Ladakh, India, which is an important
region of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) habitat. Results indicated that
in these communities, ecotourism-based interventions encourage more
positive perceptions of wildlife species, in particular the snow
leopard. Achieving change in community perceptions of wildlife is key
when implementing ecotourism schemes to enable more effective
conservation, as well as generating local awareness and value for
wildlife toward problematic keystone species such as the snow leopard,
which are frequently the focus of human-wildlife conflict.
Watts, S. W., McCarthy, T. M., Namgail, T. (2019). Modelling potential habitat for snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia is an elusive species
inhabiting some of the most remote and inaccessible tracts of Central
and South Asia. It is difficult to determine its distribution and
density pattern, which are crucial for developing conservation
strategies. Several techniques for species detection combining camera
traps with remote sensing and geographic information systems have been
developed to model the habitat of such cryptic and low-density species
in challenging terrains. Utilising presence-only data from camera traps
and direct observations, alongside six environmental variables
(elevation, aspect, ruggedness, distance to water, land cover, and prey
habitat suitability), we assessed snow leopard habitat suitability
across Ladakh in northern India. This is the first study to model snow
leopard distribution both in India and utilising direct observation
data. Results suggested that elevation and ruggedness are the two most
influential environmental variables for snow leopard habitat
suitability, with highly suitable habitat having an elevation range of
2,800 m to 4,600 m and ruggedness of 450 m to 1,800 m. Our habitat
suitability map estimated approximately 12% of Ladakh’s geographical
area (c. 90,000 km2) as highly suitable and 18% as medium suitability.
We found that 62.5% of recorded livestock depredation along with over
half of all livestock corrals (54%) and homestays (58%) occurred within
highly suitable snow leopard habitat. Our habitat suitability model can
be used to assist in allocation of conservation resources by targeting
construction of livestock corrals to areas of high habitat suitability
and promoting ecotourism programs in villages in highly suitable snow
Esson, C., Skerratt, L. F., Berger, L., Malmsten, J., Strand, T., Lundkvist, A., Järhult, J. D., Michaux, J., Mijiddorj, T. N.,, Bayrakçısmith, R., Mishra, C., Johansson, O. (2019). Health and zoonotic Infections of snow leopards Panthera unica in the South Gobi desert of Mongolia. Infection Ecology & Epidemiology, 9(1604063), 1–11.
Abstract: Background: Snow leopards, Panthera uncia, are a threatened apex predator, scattered across the mountains of Central and South Asia. Disease threats to wild snow leopards have not been investigated.
Methods and Results: Between 2008 and 2015, twenty snow leopards in the South Gobi desert of Mongolia were captured and immobilised for health screening and radio-collaring. Blood samples and external parasites were collected for pathogen analyses using enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), microscopic agglutination test (MAT), and next- generation sequencing (NGS) techniques. The animals showed no clinical signs of disease, however, serum antibodies to significant zoonotic pathogens were detected. These patho- gens included, Coxiella burnetii, (25% prevalence), Leptospira spp., (20%), and Toxoplasma gondii (20%). Ticks collected from snow leopards contained potentially zoonotic bacteria from the genera Bacillus, Bacteroides, Campylobacter, Coxiella, Rickettsia, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.
Conclusions: The zoonotic pathogens identified in this study, in the short-term did not appear to cause illness in the snow leopards, but have caused illness in other wild felids. Therefore, surveillance for pathogens should be implemented to monitor for potential longer- term disease impacts on this snow leopard population.
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.