We are happy to share our Annual Report for 2022 with you and would like to direct you to the opening address from our Steering Committee Chair – Dr. Sandro Lovari, (see page 3). 20year of snow leopard practitioners & scientists coming together around challenges of mountain ecosystem conservation. This remains a very unique & thriving community; that we are proud to be a part of!
Asia’s mountain ungulates play an important role in maintaining ecosystems by influencing vegetation structure and nutrient cycling. There is a need for more information about the population status of these ungulates, which carries special significance in the protection of the snow leopard across its range. This session will explore a range of mountain ungulate monitoring and conservation approaches. Dr. Munib Khanyari will facilitate the session. He works with the Nature Conservation Foundation as a Program Manager. He works primarily across the Trans-Himalayan region of India, aiming to build positive human-nature relationships.
Title: Large Carnivore Ecology and Conservation in the High Mountains of Central Asia
Author: Kachel, S.M.
Abstract: Predators shape their ecosystems through myriad interactions with prey, other predators, and humans. However, the effects of these interactions may be contingent on multiple contextual factors, hindering prediction in any given community and impeding a general understanding of the ecological effects of predators. Despite their prominence as conservation flagship in the mountains of Central Asia, even basic aspects of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) ecology remain underexplored and poorly understood. The ecology of wolves (Canis lupus), sympatric with snow leopards throughout that species’ range, has been even more neglected in the region, notwithstanding the significant impact of livestock depredation on pastoralist communities. This dissertation examines the interactions underlying the coexistence of wolves and snow leopards, including those with humans and their joint effects on prey, with the broader goal of improving our understanding of the context-dependence of the
non-consumptive effects (NCEs) of predators. In Chapter 2, I explore the patterns of spatial, temporal, and dietary niche overlap between wolves and snow leopards in the Eastern Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. I show that in
light of dietary and temporal overlap, the two predators’ coexistence may depend on strong spatial partitioning. In Chapter 3, I explore the consequences of this spatial partitioning by investigating how shared prey with distinct escape tactics, ibex (Capra sibirica) and argali (Ovis ammon), navigate the tradeoffs posed by the two predators in the Central Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Each ungulate responded to each predator in a manner that was predictable based on the compatibility of their respective evasion and hunting-mode traits, suggesting that non- consumptive predator effects depend not on predator hunting mode or prey escape tactics, but rather on their interaction. Furthermore, short-term predation risk may upend each ungulates’ long-term risk avoidance strategy, suggesting that emergent effects of multiple predators may have important consequences in this system. In Chapter 4, I develop a novel approach to investigate large-scale patterns of livestock depredation
risk and occurrence for wolves and snow leopards, but also lynx (Lynx lynx) and bears (Ursus arctos), in the Western Pamirs of Tajikistan. Livestock depredation was commonplace, with most communities exposed to multiple predators, highlighting that conservation efforts meant to reduce conflict between people and carnivores should aim to reduce depredation as it is experienced by human communities – a threat from the entire carnivore guild. Overall, my results suggest that single-species approaches to conservation in the mountains of Central Asia may be inadequate for ecosystems and people. This dissertation advances the cause of conservation in Central Asia by providing an empirical perspective on how snow leopards and wolves coexist and shape their ecosystems, and by providing practical insight into the challenge of livestock depredation and conflict, a primary threat to wolves and snow leopards in the region. By showing that the non-consumptive effects of predators cannot be pr
edicted based solely on prey escape tactics or predator hunting mode alone, it also contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the role of predators in shaping ecosystems.
Participatory climate risk assessment for integrating climate change considerations into development and conservation efforts. Climate risk assessments allow to understand climate risk and vulnerabilities, and can support in identifying and selecting adaptation strategies aligned with development goals and conservation efforts. The meaningful inclusion of the communities in the process is necessary in order to obtain valuable information, raise awareness and ensure adaptation actions that are relevant to the local contexts. In this module these issues and more will be discussed. Participants will be introduced to basic climate change related concepts, and exposed – through an interactive exercise – to a method for participatory climate risk assessment based on the ‘Climate impact Chains’ analytical approach. The module will draw on the example of participatory climate risk assessments in Kyrgyzstan showing how these integrated considerations on human-wildlife conflict with focus on snow leopards. Dr. Eirini Skrimizea will facilitate the session. Eirini Skrimizea is a postdoctoral researcher with a background in planning and sustainability research. She has expertise on governance of socio-ecological development and the social aspects of climate change in the Global North and South.
Significant focus has been placed on community-based conservation in recent decades. However, much purported community-based conservation research and practice continues to be top-down, where local people are seen as beneficiaries and stakeholders, but not right-holders. In this workshop, using case studies, we will explore efforts to make conservation research and practice more equitable, ethical and horizontal. We will discuss the philosophy, practice and challenges of conducting rights-based and truly collaborative conservation. Dr. Sahil Nijhawan is an interdisciplinary conservation anthropologist who has worked on human-wildlife relations across Latin America, Southern Africa and India. For the past decade, he has worked alongside the indigenous Idu Mishmi people of Arunachal Pradesh (India) – a journey that began with his doctoral research on socio-cultural, ecological and political relations between the Idu Mishmi and tigers. He is now part of local teams in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland working on a range of locally-led initiatives towards rights-based bio-cultural conservation and research.
The recording of this session is available on request.
Engaging and partnering with such local communities is critical to the success of conservation efforts. The PARTNERS principles offer a framework to consciously and effectively engage communities. This approach of eight broad principles can offer support to not only conservationists but anyone who is engaging with communities. In this session, we will explore these principles briefly and understand their working through case-studies. Ajay Bijoor and Deepshikha Sharma will facilitate the Session. Ajay has been working with local communities and government agencies to plan and implement conservation action in the high-elevation landscapes of India for the past 7 years. He has also been exploring the intersection of conservation with local knowledge systems, resource management, and local and global economy. Deepshikha has been facilitating community led conservation in snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh & Ladakh. She is working towards raising awareness and reducing losses faced by local communities due to wildlife. She is also working towards bringing local women to the forefront of conservation in the landscape.
Carnivores leave behind signs- such as tracks, droppings, sprays and carcasses. They also can be heard- making unique sounds. The team will discuss how researchers can distinguish between the unique signs of felids (snow leopards, lynx etc.) and canids (wolves, feral dogs, red foxes). They will share strategies and potential pitfalls to look out for. Dr. Orjan Johansson and Dr. Koustubh Sharma will lead the session. Orjan is a Senior Scientist for the Snow Leopard Trust and has supported the Long Term Ecological Program in Mongolia for over a decade. Kuban is the Director of the Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan.
We are very pleased to announce that our scientific journal, Snow Leopard Reports, has been launched. The journal is hosted by the Swedish National Library. Articles will receive DOIs, be indexed in databases and appear in search engines, like any other scientific journal. In time we will also receive an impact factor.
You can find the journal and all associated information here –
Please look through the submission guidelines and consider us for your next publication, we are sure that all of you have lots of information that would be of great value to the conservation community, and the snow leopards.
This would not have been possible without Lingyun Xiao, Munib Khanyari and the Steering Committee of Snow Leopard Network.
Camera traps are an important tool for snow leopard research and conservation. In this session we will share tips on best practices for setting up camera traps in the mountains for specific purposes and optimal device settings. The team will discuss camera trap types, how to effectively choose locations, strategies to improve battery life, lighting and safety of the equipment. The team will also discuss how one can improve the quality of captures for the identification of snow leopard individuals. In this interactive workshop, participants will be welcome to share their ideas, experiences and ask specific questions. Dr. Koustubh Sharma & Purevjav Lkhagvajav (Pujii) will lead this session. Koustubh is the Assistant Director of Conservation Policy and Partnerships with the Snow Leopard Trust and the International Coordinator with the GSLEP Program. He is closely involved with the implementation of the Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopard (PAWS). Pujii is the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Mongolia’s Research and Monitoring Manager. She works closely with rangers across Mongolia, and has been supporting systematic camera trapping across thousands of square kilometers for more than a decade.
Do join us for the #EncounterUncia Twitter Conference taking place next Monday to Wednesday Dec 6-8th! Over 30 conservation practitioners from across the snow leopard range and world will be presenting over the 3 days on Twitter- sharing stories and strategies to promote coexistence with the big cat. Watch the conference proceedings HERE.