New Article to the Bibliography

 

Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Predicting carnivore habitat use and livestock depredation risk with false-positive multi-state occupancy models

Author:    Kachel, S., Anderson, K., Shokirov, Q.

Abstract:    The cycle of livestock depredation and retaliatory killing constitutes a major threat to large carnivores worldwide and imposes considerable hardships on human communities. Mitigation efforts are often undertaken with little knowledge of ecological underpinnings and patterns of depredation, limiting conservationists’ ability to develop, prioritize, and evaluate solutions. Carnivore detection and depredation data from interviews in affected communities may help address this gap, but such data are often prone to false-positive uncertainty. To address these challenges in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan we collected snow leopard, lynx, wolf, and bear detection and depredation reports from local communities via semi-structured interviews. We used a novel hierarchical multi-species multi-state occupancy model that accounted for potential false-positives to investigate carnivore site use and depredation concurrently with respondents’ apparent vulnerability to that risk. Estimated false-positive probabilities were small, but failure to account for them overstated site use probabilities and depredation risk for all species. Although individual vulnerability was low, depredation was nonetheless commonplace. Carnivore site use was driven by clear habitat associations, but we did not identify any clearly important large-scale spatial correlates of depredation risk despite considerable spatial variation in that risk. Respondents who sheltered livestock in household corrals reinforced with wire mesh were less likely to report snow leopard depredations. Reducing depredation and retaliation at adequately large scales in the Pamirs will likely require a portfolio of species-specific strategies, including widespread proactive corral improvements. Our approach expanded inference on the often-cryptic processes surrounding human-carnivore conflict even though structured wildlife data were scarce.

URL:    https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1681

New Article to the Bibliography

 

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Title:    Predator niche overlap and partitioning and potential interactions in the mountains of Central Asia

Author:    Kachel, S. M., Karimov, K., Wirsing, A. J.

Abstract:    Direct and indirect interactions among predators affect predator fitness, distribution, and overall community structure. Yet, outside of experimental settings, such interactions are difficult to observe and thus poorly understood. Patterns of niche overlap among predators reflect and shape community interactions and may therefore help elucidate the nature and intensity of intraguild interactions. To better understand the coexistence of two apex predators, snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and wolves (Canis lupus), we investigated their spatial, temporal, and dietary niche overlap in summer in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. We estimated population- level space use via spatial capture–recapture models based on noninvasive genetics and camera traps, diel activity patterns based on camera trap detections, and diet composition from prey remains in carnivore scats, from which we estimated coefficients between 0 and 1 for overlap in space, time, and diet, respectively. Snow
 leopards and wolves displayed moderate spatial partitioning (0.26, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.17–37), but overlapping temporal (0.77, 95% CI: 0.64–0.90) and dietary (0.97, 95% CI: 0.80–0.99) niches. Both predators relied on seasonally abundant marmots (Marmota caudata) rather than wild ungulates, their typical primary prey, suggesting that despite patterns of overlap that were superficially conducive to exploitation competition and predator facilitation, prey were likely not a limiting factor. Therefore, prey-mediated interactions, if present, were unlikely to be a major structuring force in the ecosystem. By implication, carnivore conservation planning and monitoring in the mountains of Central Asia should more fully account for the seasonal importance of marmots in the ecosystem.

URL:    https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1680

 

 

 

New Article to the Bibliography

 

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Title:    Household Conflicts with Snow Leopard Conservation and Impacts from Snow Leopards in the Everest and Annapurna Regions of Nepal

Author:    Hanson, J. H.

Abstract:    Impacts on households from large carnivores are frequently reported in the conservation literature, but conflicts between households and large carnivore conservation are not. Employing a human-wildlife coexistence framework that distinguishes between human-wildlife impacts on one hand, and human-conservation conflicts on the other, this paper presents data from Annapurna Conservation Area and Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, Nepal, each with different models of conservation governance. Using systematic sampling, quantitative information from 705 households was collected via questionnaires, while 70 semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants for cross-methods triangulation. 7.7% of households reported conflicts with snow leopard conservation in the previous 12 months, primarily due to damage to livelihoods; these were significantly higher in the Annapurna region. 373 livestock were reported lost by households to snow leopards in the previous 12 months, representing 3.4% of total livestock owned and US$ 132,450 in financial value. Livestock losses were significantly lower in the Everest area. In linear regression models, total household livestock losses to all sources best explained conflicts with snow leopard conservation and household livestock losses to snow leopards but the models for the former dependent variable had very low explanatory power. Conservation in general, and large carnivore conservation in particular, should distinguish carefully between impacts caused by coexistence with these species and conflicts with conservation actors and over the methods and interventions used to conserve carnivores, especially where these negatively impact local livelihoods. In addition, livestock husbandry standards are highlighted again as an important factor in the success of carnivore conservation programmes.

URL:    https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1679

 

New Article to the Bibliography

 

Title:    Spatial separation of prey from livestock facilitates coexistence of a specialized large carnivore with human land use.

Author:    Xiao, L., Hua, F., Knops, J. M. H., Zhao, X., Mishra, C., Lovari, S., Alexander, J. S., Weckworth, B., Lu, Z.

Abstract:    There is an increasing emphasis in conservation strategies for large carnivores on facilitating their coexistence with humans. Justification for coexistence strategies should be based on a quantitative assessment of currently remaining large carnivores in human-dominated landscapes. An essential part of a carnivore’s coexistence strategy has to rely on its prey. In this research, we studied snow leopards Panthera uncia whose habitat mainly comprises human-dominated, unprotected areas, to understand how a large carnivore and its primary prey, the bharal Pseudois nayaur, could coexist with human land use activities in a large proportion of its range. Using a combination of livestock census, camera trapping and wildlife surveys, across a broad gradient of livestock grazing intensity in a 363 000 km2 landscape on the Tibetan Plateau, we found no evidence of livestock grazing impacts on snow leopard habitat use, bharal density and spatial distribution, even though livestock
  density was 13 times higher than bharal density. Bharal were found to prefer utilizing more rugged habitats at higher elevations with lower grass forage conditions, whereas livestock dominated in flat valleys at lower elevations with higher productivity, especially during the resource-scarce season. These findings suggest that the spatial niche separation between bharal and livestock, together with snow leopards’ specialized bharal diet, minimized conflicts and allowed snow leopards and bharal to coexist in landscapes dominated by livestock grazing. In recent years, reduced hunting and nomadic herder’s lifestyle changes towards permanent residence may have further reinforced this spatial separation. Our results indicated that, for developing conservation strategies for large carnivores, the niche of their prey in relation to human land-use is a key variable that needs to be evaluated.

URL:    https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1678

 

 

 

New Articles to the Bibliography

 

Please find details below of two new articles added to our Bibliography:

Title: Prey partitioning and livestock consumption in the world’s richest large carnivore assemblage

Author: Shao, X., Lu, Q., Xiong, M., Bu, H., Shi, X., Wang, D., Zhao, J., Li, S., Yao, M.

Abstract: Large mammalian carnivores have undergone catastrophic declines during the Anthropocene across the world. Despite their pivotal roles as apex predators in food webs and ecosystem dynamics, few detailed di- etary datasets of large carnivores exist, prohibiting deep understanding of their coexistence and persistence in human-dominated landscapes. Here, we present fine-scaled, quantitative trophic interactions among sym- patric carnivores from three assemblages in the Mountains of Southwest China, a global biodiversity hotspot harboring the world’s richest large-carnivore diversity, derived from DNA metabarcoding of 1,097 fecal sam- ples. These assemblages comprise a large-carnivore guild ranging from zero to five species along with two mesocarnivore species. We constructed predator-prey food webs for each assemblage and identified 95 vertebrate prey taxa and 260 feeding interactions in sum. Each carnivore species consumed 6–39 prey taxa, and dietary diversity decreased
with increased carnivore body mass across guilds. Dietary partitioning was more evident between large-carnivore and mesocarnivore guilds, yet different large carnivores showed divergent proportional utilization of different-sized prey correlating with their own body masses. Large car- nivores particularly selected livestock in Tibetan-dominated regions, where the indigenous people show high tolerance toward wild predators. Our results suggest that dietary niche partitioning and livestock subsidies facilitate large-carnivore sympatry and persistence and have key implications for sustainable conservation promoting human-carnivore coexistence.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1674

Title: Snow Leopard Dietary Preferences and Livestock Predation Revealed by Fecal DNA Metabarcoding: No Evidence for Apparent Competition Between Wild and Domestic Prey

Author: Lu, Q., Xiao, L., Cheng, C., Lu, Z., Zhao, J., Yao, M.

Abstract: Accurate assessments of the patterns and drivers of livestock depredation by wild carnivores are vital for designing effective mitigation strategies to reduce human-wildlife conflict. Snow leopard’s (Panthera uncia) range extensively overlaps pastoralist land- use and livestock predation there is widely reported, but the ecological determinants of livestock consumption by snow leopards remain obscure. We investigated snow leopard dietary habits at seven sites across the Sanjiangyuan region of the Qinghai– Tibetan Plateau (QTP), an area central to the species’ global range. Snow leopard abundance, wild prey composition, and livestock density varied among those sites, thus allowing us to test the effects of various factors on snow leopard diet and livestock predation. Using DNA metabarcoding, we obtained highly resolved dietary data from 351 genetically verified snow leopard fecal samples. We then analyzed the prey preferences of snow leopards and examined ecological factors related to their livestock consumption. Across the sites, snow leopard prey was composed mainly of wild ungulates (mean = 81.5% of dietary sequences), particularly bharal (Pseudois nayaur), and supplemented with livestock (7.62%) and smaller mammals (marmots, pikas, mice; 10.7%). Snow leopards showed a strong preference for bharal, relative to livestock, based on their densities. Interestingly, both proportional and total livestock consumption by snow leopards increased linearly with local livestock biomass, but not with livestock density. That, together with a slight negative relationship with bharal density, supports apparent facilitation between wild and domestic prey. We also found a significant positive correlation between population densities of snow leopard and bharal, yet those densities showed slight negative relationships with livestock density. Our results highlight the importance of sufficient wild ungulate abundance to the conservation of viable snow leopard po
pulations. Additionally, livestock protection is critically needed to reduce losses to snow leopard depredation, especially where local livestock abundances are high.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1675

New Article to the Bibliography

Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Predicting Parasite Dynamics in Mixed-Use Trans-Himalayan Pastures to Underpin Management of Cross-Transmission Between Livestock and Bharal

Author:    Khanyari, M., Suryawanshi, K. R., Milner-Gulland, E. J., Dickinson, E., Khara, A., Rana, R. S., Vineer, H. R., Morgan, E. R.

Abstract:    The complexities of multi-use landscapes require sophisticated approaches to addressing disease transmission risks. We explored gastro-intestinal nematode (GINs) infections in the North India Trans-Himalayas through a socio-ecological lens, integrating parasite transmission modelling with field surveys and local knowledge, and evaluated the likely effectiveness of potential interventions. Bharal (blue sheep; Pseudois nayaur), a native wild herbivore, and livestock share pasture year-round and livestock commonly show signs of GINs infection. While both wild and domestic ungulates had GINs infections, egg counts indicated significantly higher parasite burdens in bharal than livestock. However, due to higher livestock densities, they contributed more to the total count of eggs and infective larvae on pasture. Herders also reported health issues in their sheep and goats consistent with parasite infections. Model simulations suggested that pasture infectivity in this system i
 s governed by historical pasture use and gradually accumulated larval development during the summer, with no distinct short-term flashpoints for transmission. The most effective intervention was consequently predicted to be early-season parasite suppression in livestock using temperature in spring as a cue. A 1-month pause in egg output from livestock could lead to a reduction in total annual availability of infective larvae on pasture of 76%, potentially benefitting the health of both livestock and bharal. Modelling suggested that climate change over the past 33 years has led to no overall change in GINs transmission potential, but an increase in the relative influence of temperature over precipitation in driving pasture infectivity. Our study provides a transferable multi-pronged approach to investigating disease transmission, in order to support herders’ livelihoods and conserve wild ungulates.

URL:    https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1673

New Article to the Bibliography

 

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Title: Drivers of snow leopard poaching and trade in Pakistan and implications for management

Author: Din, J. U., Bari, F., Ali, H., Rehman, E. U., Adli, D. S. H., Abdullah, N. A., Norma-Rashid, Y., Kabir, M., Hameed, S., Nawaz, D. A., Nawaz, M. A.

Abstract: The snow leopard is one of the highly valued species from high-altitude mountain ecosystems of Central and Southeast Asia, including Pakistan. This keystone species is facing a myriad of conventional and emerging threats, including poaching and trade, that are poorly documented in Pakistan. To understand the dynamics and drivers of the poaching and trading of snow leopards in Pakistan, we investigated the issue in depth through a multifaceted survey in the snow leopard range of the country. We recorded 101 snow leopard poaching incidences from 11 districts during 2005–2017. The reported poaching incidences varied spatially (‒x = 9 ± 2.6 [95% Cl: 3–15]) and temporally (‒x = 7.8 ± 1.09) and accounted for 2–4% annual population loss (n = 200–420) in a period of 13 years. Poaching and trade together constituted 89% of the total incidence reported and animals were mostly shot (66%), poisoned (12%), snared (12%) and captured (4%), respectively. Only a fraction (3%) of the incidences were reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies. Trade routes included large cities and neighbouring countries, even the Middle East and Europe. The average base and end prices for each item were 245 ± 36 USD and 1,736 ± 520 USD, respectively, while maximum monetary fines set as per the law were 275 USD. Our results establish the need for developing multi-stakeholder coordination mechanisms at regional, national and international levels and information sharing to curb this menace. Improving the existing laws and surveillance system, while taking the local communities onboard, will further help to this end.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1672

New Article to the Bibliography

 

 

Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:    Horizon Scan of Transboundary Concerns Impacting Snow Leopard Landscapes in Asia

Author:    Sultan, H., Rashid, W., Shi, J., Rahim, I. U., Nafees, M., Bohnett, E., Rashid, S., Khan, M. T., Shah, I. A., Han, H., Ariza-Montes, A.

Abstract:    The high-altitude region of Asia is prone to natural resource degradation caused by a variety of natural and anthropogenic factors that also threaten the habitat of critical top predator species, the snow leopard (Panthera uncia). The snow leopard’s landscape encompasses parts of the twelve Asian countries and is dominated by pastoral societies within arid mountainous terrain. However, no investigation has assessed the vulnerability and pathways towards long-term sustainability on the global snow leopard landscape scale. Thus, the current study reviewed 123 peer-reviewed scientific publications on the existing knowledge, identified gaps, and proposed sustainable mitigation options for the longer term and on larger landscape levels in the range countries. The natural resource degradation in this region is caused by various social, economic, and ecological threats that negatively affect its biodiversity. The factors that make the snow leopard landscapes vulnerable includ
 e habitat fragmentation through border fencing, trade corridor infrastructure, non-uniform conservation policies, human–snow leopard conflict, the increasing human population, climatic change, land use and cover changes, and unsustainable tourism. Thus, conservation of the integrated Socio-Ecological System (SES) prevailing in this region requires a multi-pronged approach. This paper proposes solutions and identifies the pathways through which to implement these solutions. The prerequisite to implementing such solutions is the adoption of cross-border collaboration (regional cooperation), the creation of peace parks, readiness to integrate transnational and cross-sectoral conservation policies, a focus on improving livestock management practices, a preparedness to control human population growth, a readiness to mitigate climate change, initiating transboundary landscape-level habitat conservation, adopting environment-friendly trade corridors, and promoting sustainable tourism. Su
 stainable development in this region encompasses the political, social, economic, and ecological landscapes across the borders.

URL:    https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1671

New Article to the Bibliography

Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title: Functional Adaptations in the Forelimb of the Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)
Author:   Smith, H. F., Townsend, K. E. B., Adrian, B., Levy, S., Marsh, S., Hassur, R., Manfredi, K., Echols, M. S.
Abstract:    The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is anatomically and physiologically adapted for life in the rocky terrain of alpine zones in Central and South Asia. Panthera uncia is scansorial, and typically hunts solitarily by using overhead ambush of prey, rather than the typical stalking pattern of other large pantherines. In this study, we conducted dissections, detailed documentation, and illustrated the forelimb anatomy of two adult P. uncia specimens (1M/1F). Qualitative and quantitative data revealed an intriguing combination of functional adaptations illustrating a balance between the diverse demands of head-first descent, pouncing, climbing across rocky terrain, restraint of large prey, rapid pursuit, and navigating deep snow. In many forelimb proportions, P. uncia is intermediate between the cursorial Acinonyx jubatus (cheetah) and the scansorial forest dwelling Panthera onca (jaguar). Enlarged scapular and pectoral musculature provide stability to the shoulder girdle during grappling with large prey, as well as support during jumping and climbing. A small, unarticulated bony clavicle may provide greater stability to the forelimb, while still allowing flexibility. In the brachium and antebrachium of P. uncia, there is a functional compromise between the powerful grip needed for grasping large prey and the stability necessary for rapid pursuit of prey over uneven, rocky terrain. A unique bifurcation in the tendon of m. biceps brachii may provide additional functional stability at the radiohumeral joint. Intrinsic muscles of the palmar manus are broad and fleshy, acting as an enlarged surface area to evenly distribute body weight while walking on soft snow. However, muscles that act to provide fine manual manipulation are reduced, as in other large prey specialists. Overall, P. uncia displays morphological adaptive parallels with scansorial, large prey spe- cializing pantherines, such as P. onca, while also showing adaptations for running.
URL:   

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New Article to the Bibliography

 

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Title:    Snow leopards and prey in Rolwaling Valley, Gaurishankar Conservation Area, Nepal

Author:    Pandey, B. P., Thami, S., Shrestha, R., Subedi, N., Chalise, M. K., Ale, S. B.

Abstract:    The snow leopard Panthera uncia, an apex predator of the Himalayan ecosystem, often shares habitat with the wolf, Canis lupus, red fox Vulpes vulpes, and other carnivores. A biodiversity monitoring programme primarily focused on the assessment of the status of snow leopard and its prey in Rolwaling valley of Gaurishankar Conservation Area, Nepal, was carried out during June–November 2019. We deployed single camera traps in each of twelve grids sized 16 km2 each, operated 24 hours, and left alone for the whole study period. A single snow leopard was captured thrice on same camera in Rhododendron anthopogon-Hippophae thibetana scrubland, near Tsho Rolpa glacial lake (4,536 m). Alongwith snow leopard, wolves were also photographed at three sites namely Yelung pass (4,956 m), Tsho Rolpa (4,536 m) and Dudhkunda ridgeline (5,091 m). The red fox was the most frequent predator in Rolwaling while stone marten Martes foina, yellow-throated marten Martes flabigula, and yellow-belied weasel Mustella katiyah were captured occasionally. Photo capture rate index PCRI per 100 trap nights was calculated for all identifiable species where snow leopard and wolf had PCRI values of 0.35 and 0.71, respectively. The Cumulative PCRI values suggest a pyramid shaped community structure in Rolwaling with small herbivores (including game birds) with broad base (PCRI 22.29) followed by large herbivores (10.38) and small-medium sized carnivores (6.96). The top predators (snow leopard and wolf) produces 1.06 photographic rate index. The declaration of Gaurishankar conservation area and continuous efforts from conservation area management committees, strict cultural rules from local Buddhist community in the valley are found possibly favoured the recolonization of the wolf and frequent visits by snow leopard.

URL:    https://snowleopardnetwork.org/b/show.php?record=1669