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Hanson, J. H., Schutgens, M., Lama, R.P., Aryal, A., Dhakal, M. (2018). Local attitudes to the proposed translocation of blue sheep Pseudois nayaur to Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal. Fauna & Flora International, , 1–7.
Abstract: Translocations are an important tool for the conservation
of biodiversity, but although ecological feasibility
studies are frequently conducted prior to implementation,
social feasibility studies that consider how local communities
perceive such projects are less common. The translocation
of blue sheep Pseudois nayaur to Sagarmatha National
Park, Nepal, has been proposed, to reduce livestock depredation
by snow leopards Panthera uncia by providing an alternative
prey base in addition to the small population of
Himalayan thar Hemitragus jemlahicus. This study used
systematic sampling, a quantitative questionnaire and qualitative
interviews within the Park to provide data on the social
viability of the proposed translocation. Quantitative
analysis revealed moderate levels of support but qualitative
analysis suggested that there are significant concerns about
the proposal. In addition,multiple regression analysis found
that women and livestock owners were significantly less
supportive, although the model had low explanatory
power. Potential crop damage and competition for forage
were frequently cited as concerns, especially amongst
those with a high level of dependence on natural resources.
Given the mixed response to the proposed translocation of
blue sheep to the Everest region, alleviating the reservations
of local residents is likely to be key to any further consultation,
planning or implementation.
Holt, C. D. S., Nevin, O. T., Smith, D., Convery, I. (2018). Environmental niche overlap between snow leopard and four prey species in Kazakhstan. Elsevier, (48), 97–103.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia has declined due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and human persecution. Predator distribution is heavily dependent on prey species availability and distribution. With increasing pressures from farming practices encroaching into native species range and persecution of snow leopards in response to livestock depredation, it is vital to assess current predator and prey species distribution to highlight sensitive areas of overlap for protection. This study uses MaxEnt, a presence-only Species Distribution Model (SDM) to assess snow leopard and four prey species habitat suitability along
the southern and eastern borders of Kazakhstan using environmental data. This area is considered an important corridor between snow leopard populations in the north and south of their range. Each of the five SDM's produced models of �good� discriminating abilities. We then compared the potential niche overlap between snow leopard and four prey species using ENMTools to highlight areas of important niche overlap within the corridor. The results indicated a very high degree of overlap between snow leopard and Siberian ibex and high degrees Capra sibirica with red deer Cervus elaphus, argali Ovis ammon and urial Ovis orientalis. The snow leopard population in this region is also found to be using forested areas below 2500 m, much lower than recorded in other areas of their range. The results highlight areas needed for protection but also pose additional conservation questions regarding the importance of prey species to transitory individuals.
Johansson, O., Koehler, G., Rauset, G. R.< Samelius, G., Andren, H., Mishra, C., Lhagvarsuren, P., McCarthy, T., Low, M. (2018). Sex specific seasonal variation in puma and snow leopard home range utilization. Ecosphere, 9(8), 1–14.
Abstract: Territory size is often larger for males than for females in species without biparental care. For large solitary carnivores, this is explained by males encompassing a set of female territories to monopolize their reproduction during mating (area maximization). However, males are expected to behave more like females outside of breeding, with their area utilization being dependent on the range required to secure food resources (area minimization). To examine how male and female solitary carnivores adjust their spatial organization during the year as key resources (mates and prey) change, we radio‐collared 17 pumas (Puma concolor; nine males and eight females) and 14 snow leopards (Panthera uncia; seven males and seven females) and estimated home range size and overlap on two temporal scales (annual vs. monthly). Contrary to expectation, we found no evidence that males monopolized females (the mean territory overlap between females and the focal male during the mating season was 0.28 and 0.64 in pumas and snow leopards, respectively). Although male�male overlap of annual home ranges was comparatively high (snow leopards [0.21] vs. pumas [0.11]), monthly home range overlaps were small (snow leopards [0.02] vs. pumas [0.08]) suggesting strong territoriality. In pumas, both males and females reduced their monthly home ranges in winter, and at the same time, prey distribution was clumped and mating activity increased. In snow leopards, females showed little variation in seasonal home range size, following the seasonal stability in their primary prey. However, male snow leopards reduced their monthly home range utilization in the mating season. In line with other studies, our results suggest that female seasonal home range variation is largely explained by changes in food resource distribution. However, contrary to expectations, male territories did not generally encompass those of females, and males reduced their home ranges during mating. Our results show that male and female territorial boundaries tend to intersect in these species, and hint at the operation of female choice and male mate guarding within these mating systems.
Karnaukhov, A. S., Malykh, S. V., Korablev, M. P., Kalashnikova, Y. M., Poyarkov, A. D., Rozhnov, V. V. (2018). Current Status of the Eastern Sayan Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) Grouping and Its Nutritive Base. Biology Bulletin, 45(9), 1106–1115.
Abstract: A field survey of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) habitats was carried out in the southeastern part of
the Eastern Sayan Mountains (Okinskii and Tunkinskii districts of the Republic of Buryatia and the Kaa-
Khemskii district of Tuva Republic). Seven or eight adult snow leopards were observed as constant inhabitants
of the Tunkinskie Gol'tsy, Munku-Sardyk, and Bol'shoi Sayan mountain ridges. The presence of eight
snow leopards was confirmed using DNA-based analyses of scats collected in 2014 – 2016. The main prey species
of the snow leopard in Eastern Sayan is the Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), but its abundance has steadily
decreased over the past 20 years. The red deer (Cervus elaphus) and the wild boar (Sus scrofa), which were
some of the most numerous ungulates in the survey area, are replacing the Siberian ibex in the snow leopard's
diet. In addition, the mountain hare (Lepus timidus) is also of importance to the snow leopard's diet.
Khanal, G., Poudyal, L. P., Devkota, B. P., Ranabhat, R., Wegge, P. (2018). Status and conservation of the snow leopard Panthera uncia in Api Nampa Conservation Area, Nepal. Fauna & Flora International, , 1–8.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia is globally
threatened and reliable information on its abundance,
distribution and prey species is a prerequisite for its conservation.
In October-November 2014 we assessed the distribution
of the snow leopard in the recently established Api
Nampa Conservation Area in the Nepal Himalayas.
Within selected blocks we conducted sign surveys and
counted the number of bharal Pseudois nayaur, its principal
wild prey, along transects totalling 106 km.We recorded 203
putative snow leopard signs at an encounter rate of 1.91
signs/km. Generalized linear models of the number of
signs detected per transect showed that elevation had a positive
influence and human activities a negative influence on
sign encounter rate; prey abundance had only a weak positive
influence on sign encounter rate. Within the effectively
surveyed area of c. 2002 km2, we counted 527 bharal at an estimated
density of 2.28 animals/km2. Recruitment of bharal
was low, estimated at 48 kids/100 adult females, most likely a
result of poor or overgrazed rangeland. We estimate
the total number of bharal in this conservation area to be
.>1,000, a prey base that could sustain 6-9 snow leopards.
Based on our field observations, we identified human disturbance
and habitat degradation associated with extraction
of non-timber forest products, livestock grazing, and poaching
as the main threats to the snow leopard. Standardized
sign surveys, preferably supplemented by sampling with
remote cameras or with genetic analysis of scats would
provide robust baseline information on the abundance of
snow leopards in this conservation area.
Lama, R. P., Ghale, T. R., Suwal, M. K., Ranabhat, R., Regmi, G. R. (2018). First photographic evidence of Snow Leopard Panthera uncia (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) outside current protected areas network in Nepal Himalaya. Journal of Threatened Taxa, , 12086–12090.
Abstract: The Snow Leopard Panthera uncia is a rare top predator of high-altitude ecosystems and insufficiently surveyed outside of protected areas in Nepal. We conducted a rapid camera-trapping survey to assess the presence of Snow Leopard in the Limi valley of Humla District. Three individuals were recorded in two camera locations offering the first photographic evidence of this elusive cat outside the protected area network of Nepal. In addition to Snow Leopard, the Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur, Beech Marten Martes foina, Pika Ochotona spp. and different species of birds were also detected by camera-traps. More extensive surveys and monitoring are needed for reliably estimating the population size of Snow Leopard in the area. The most urgent needs are community-based conservation activities aimed at mitigating immediate threats of poaching, retaliatory killing, and rapid prey depletion to ensure the survival of this top predator in the Himalaya.
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
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.
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.