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Lyngdoh, S., Shrotriya, S., Goyal, S. P., Clements, H., Hayward, M. W., Habib, B. (2014). Prey Preferences of the Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia): Regional Diet Specificity Holds Global Significance for Conservation. Plos One, 9(2), 1–11.
Abstract: The endangered snow leopard is a large felid that is distributed over 1.83 million km2 globally. Throughout its range it relies on a limited number of prey species in some of the most inhospitable landscapes on the planet where high rates of human persecution exist for both predator and prey. We reviewed 14 published and 11 unpublished studies pertaining to snow leopard diet throughout its range. We calculated prey consumption in terms of frequency of occurrence and biomass consumed based on 1696 analysed scats from throughout the snow leopard’s range. Prey biomass consumed was calculated based on the Ackerman’s linear correction factor. We identified four distinct physiographic and snow leopard prey type zones, using cluster analysis that had unique prey assemblages and had key prey characteristics which supported snow leopard occurrence there. Levin’s index showed the snow leopard had a specialized dietary niche breadth. The main prey of the snow leopard were Siberian ibex (Capra sibrica), blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur), Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), argali (Ovis ammon) and marmots (Marmota spp). The significantly preferred prey species of snow leopard weighed 5565 kg, while the preferred prey weight range of snow leopard was 36–76 kg with a significant preference for Siberian ibex and blue sheep. Our meta-analysis identified critical dietary resources for snow leopards throughout their distribution and illustrates the importance of understanding regional variation in species ecology; particularly prey species
that have global implications for conservation.
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.
Mishra, C., Suryawanshi, K. (2014). Managing conflicts over livestock depradation by Large Carnivores. In SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION – Human-Wildlife Conflict in the Mountains of SAARC Region – Compilation of Successful Management Strategies and Practices (pp. 27–47).
Abstract: Managing wildlife-caused damage to human interests has become an important aspect of contemporary conservation management. Conflicts between pastoralism and carnivore conservation over livestock depredation pose a serious challenge to endangered carnivores worldwide, and have become an important livelihood concern locally. Here, we first review the primary causes of these conflicts, their socio-ecological correlates, and commonly employed mitigation measures. We then describe a community-based program to manage conflicts over livestock depredation by snow leopards Panthera uncia and wolves Canis lupus. A threats-based conceptual model of conflict management is presented. Conflicts over livestock depredation are characterized by complex, multi-scale interactions between carnivore and livestock behavioral ecology, animal husbandry, human psyche, culture, world-views, and socio-economic and education levels of affected peoples. A diversity of commonly employed conflict-mitigation measures is available. They aim at (i) reducing livestock depredation through better livestock herding, use of physical, chemical or psychological barriers, removal of carnivores, and use of livestock guard animals, (ii) offsetting economic losses through damage compensation and insurance programmes, and (iii) increasing peoples’ tolerance of carnivores through indirect approaches such as conservation education and economic incentives. For effective management, conflicts need to be understood along two important dimensions, viz., the reality of damage caused to humans, and the psyche and perceptions of humans who suffer wildlife caused damage. The efficacy of commonly used mitigation measures is variable. A combination of measures that reduce the level of livestock depredation, share or offset economic losses, and improve the social carrying capacity for carnivores will be more effective in managing conflicts than standalone measures
Sharma, K., Bayrakcismith, R., Tumursukh, L., Johansson, O., Sevger, P., McCarthy, T., Mishra, C. (2014). Vigorous Dynamics Underlie a Stable Population of the Endangered Snow Leopard Panthera uncia in Tost Mountains, South Gobi, Mongolia. Plos One, 9(7).
Abstract: Population monitoring programmes and estimation of vital rates are key to understanding the mechanisms of population growth, decline or stability, and are important for effective conservation action. We report, for the first time, the population trends and vital rates of the endangered snow leopard based on camera trapping over four years in the Tost Mountains, South Gobi, Mongolia. We used robust design multi-season mark-recapture analysis to estimate the trends in abundance, sex ratio, survival probability and the probability of temporary emigration and immigration for adult and young snow leopards. The snow leopard population remained constant over most of the study period, with no apparent growth (l = 1.08+20.25). Comparison of model results with the ‘‘known population’’ of radio-collared snow leopards suggested
high accuracy in our estimates. Although seemingly stable, vigorous underlying dynamics were evident in this population, with the adult sex ratio shifting from being male-biased to female-biased (1.67 to 0.38 males per female) during the study. Adult survival probability was 0.82 (SE+20.08) and that of young was 0.83 (SE+20.15) and 0.77 (SE +20.2) respectively, before and after the age of 2 years. Young snow leopards showed a high probability of temporary emigration and immigration (0.6, SE +20.19 and 0.68, SE +20.32 before and after the age of 2 years) though not the adults (0.02 SE+20.07). While the current female-bias in the population and the number of cubs born each year seemingly render the study population safe, the vigorous dynamics suggests that the situation can change quickly. The reduction in the proportion of
male snow leopards may be indicative of continuing anthropogenic pressures. Our work reiterates the importance of monitoring both the abundance and population dynamics of species for effective conservation.
Suryawanshi, K. R., Bhatia, S., Bhatnagar, Y. V., Redpath, S., Mishra, C. (2014). Multiscale Factors Affecting Human Attitudes toward Snow Leopards and Wolves. Conservation biology, 00, 1–10.
Abstract: The threat posed by large carnivores to livestock and humans makes peaceful coexistence between
them difficult. Effective implementation of conservation laws and policies depends on the attitudes of local
residents toward the target species. There are many known correlates of human attitudes toward carnivores,
but they have only been assessed at the scale of the individual. Because human societies are organized hierarchically, attitudes are presumably influenced by different factors at different scales of social organization, but this scale dependence has not been examined.We used structured interview surveys to quantitatively assess the attitudes of a Buddhist pastoral community toward snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and wolves (Canis lupus).
We interviewed 381 individuals from 24 villages within 6 study sites across the high-elevation Spiti Valley in
the Indian Trans-Himalaya. We gathered information on key explanatory variables that together captured
variation in individual and village-level socioeconomic factors.We used hierarchical linear models to examine how the effect of these factors on human attitudes changed with the scale of analysis from the individual to the community. Factors significant at the individual level were gender, education, and age of the respondent (for wolves and snow leopards), number of income sources in the family (wolves), agricultural production, and large-bodied livestock holdings (snow leopards). At the community level, the significant factors included the number of smaller-bodied herded livestock killed by wolves and mean agricultural production (wolves) and village size and large livestock holdings (snow leopards). Our results show that scaling up from the individual to higher levels of social organization can highlight important factors that influence attitudes of people toward wildlife and toward formal conservation efforts in general. Such scale-specific information can help managers apply conservation measures at appropriate scales. Our results reiterate the need for conflict management programs to be multipronged.
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Xu, G., MaMing, R., Buzzard, P., Blank, D. (2014). Nature reserve in Xingjiang: a snow leopard paradise or refuge for how long? Selevinia, 22, 144–149.
Abstract: The snow leopard Uncia uncia is an endangered species, which is widely but thinly
distributed throughout its range in the mountains of Central Asia. China contains as
much as 60% of the snow leopard’s potential habitat and has the largest population
of this species. Xinjiang is the largest province in China, covering an area of 1.66
million km² or about one-sixth of the land area of China. Xinjiang is one of the
most important areas for snow leopards with much potential habitat in mountain
ranges such as the north and south Tienshan and Kunlun containing almost 30% of the
world’s snow leopard population. By the end of 2013, total 35 natural reserves have
been established in Xinjiang, and 20 of these areas have snow leopards (Ma et al,
2013). In this paper, we report on the status of snow leopards in these protected
areas and show that they play an important role in protecting snow leopards and
their habitats. Then, we discuss the many problems and challenges faced by these