Module 9: Using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for snow leopard management and monitoring
An on-line resource for practitioners
About this module
The Snow Leopard Network is delighted to partner with WCS in offering this training Module. Module 9 introduces participants to practical tools for monitoring wildlife and potential threats across snow leopard habitat.
The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), has rapidly become the global standard for protection monitoring and management. SMART is currently used in over 900 conservation areas and 60 countries worldwide. The use of SMART is however still limited across the snow leopard range.
The “SMART Approach”, uses patrol monitoring data in management cycles that are aimed at step-by-step improvements in patrol quality. When applied properly, this approach can produce substantial improvements in wildlife protection. SMART monitoring makes it possible to measure trends in wildlife populations, patrol effort, poaching pressures, and other threats, and assess whether protection capacity is sufficient. SMART can help address threats to snow leopards, their prey species and their habitat and secure their survival. It is also possible to use advanced features of SMART to design surveys and sampling regimes for ungulate prey surveys.
The main goal of the module is to provide advanced understanding of the functionality of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) in the context of adaptive management and the snow leopard’s range. Participants who complete the short course will:
- Learn the basic features of the SMART tool to support protected area activities.
- Know the philosophy of adaptive patrol management, the role that SMART plays in facilitating this, how to use SMART as a tool to support protection efforts
- The process of implementing SMART at a site (trainings, meetings, logistics, and technical support)
- How to adapt the tool to the particular needs of your site.
- How to design surveys to collect data at your site
Meet the Resource Team
Samantha Strindberg Ph.D
Samantha Strindberg is a Conservation Scientist and Wildlife Statistician in the Global Conservation Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a US-based NGO. She provides statistical design and analysis assistance to WCS staff based at terrestrial and marine field sites world-wide. She focuses in particular, on the appropriate application of continually evolving specialized techniques for wildlife surveys, and on conducting statistical analyses to investigate ecological and human-influenced relationships relevant to conservation management.
Samantha also contributes to strategic conservation planning, by developing conceptual models and theories of change, and by designing monitoring programs to assess the effectiveness of conservation activities. She provides training workshops on wildlife survey methods and the design of monitoring programs most recently in conjunction with the SMART Ecological Records software. She is a member of the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals with the Marine Mammal Commission.
Samantha holds a Ph.D. in Statistics focused on Wildlife Population Assessment from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. While there, she was part of the Research Unit for Wildlife Population Assessment (RUWPA), and also worked on projects including the mapping and survey design component of the Distance software, the International Whaling Commission’s Database-Estimation Software System, as well as data entry software for cetacean surveys. Samantha originally majored in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. During this time, she also worked on fisheries and marine mammal population assessments. She has published four book chapters on distance sampling and a diverse set of peer-reviewed papers covering topics such as abundance estimation, spatial distribution, temporal trends, survey techniques, and evidence-based conservation.
Michiel has a Master’s Degree in Business Economics and Management from the University of Amsterdam and has worked in The Netherlands as a management consultant for KMPG and for Deloitte & Touche. Since 1996, he has been involved in conservation in the Russian Far East, from 1997, as Director of Tigris Foundation (a Dutch NGO for the protection of Amur leopards and tigers that he established) and between 2003 and 2008, as a staff member of the Zoological Society of London. Since 2006, he has been driving efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Russia Program to design and introduce SMART systems (and before that MIST) for monitoring and adaptive management of patrol efforts. WCS has assisted with introducing SMART to seven federal-level protected areas in Amur tiger habitat in the Russian Far East and to one wildlife management agency operating outside protected areas.
Since 2016, Michiel has also worked on SMART projects in Central Asia. He assisted with the design and introduction of SMART for patrol efforts led by WCS in a protected area for snow leopards in the Wakhan Province of Afghanistan. In 2018, Michiel conducted a 5-day SMART introduction workshop for the Kazakh conservation NGO ACBK and various protected areas and protection agencies. In 2018, he conducted a 3-day SMART introduction workshop in Bishkek (together with Tony Lynam) for participants mainly from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia. Since 2019, he has been assisting UNDP and its partners in Uzbekistan with the introduction of SMART to two pilot sites; the Gissar and Chatkal strict reserves in snow leopard habitat. If funding will be secured, Michiel will later this year start work on a pilot project for the introduction of SMART patrol management in two pilot reserves with snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan.
Antony Lynam joined the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in 1996. A trained ecologist and conservation scientist, he previously worked for the Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management and University of California, Riverside, and has 30 years of experience implementing and advising wildlife conservation and management projects in Australia, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Russian Far East, South Sudan, Tanzania and Thailand. Throughout his career with WCS Antony has helped pilot the use of new technologies for solving conservation problems at our sites and landscapes. This began with the use of passive and active infrared camera-traps for monitoring tigers and other endangered mammals in Indochina (1997-2004), training conservation field staff in GPS and navigation techniques (1999-present), introducing mobile data collecting devices for patrolling (2013-present) and use of remote sensing data for deforestation and threats mapping (FIRMS). He collaborated with other experts to publish technical papers on integrated technology for conservation and has presented the results of WCS conservation applications of technology at professional conferences. Since 2004, Antony helped introduce the use of law enforcement monitoring databases at sites under the CITES MIKE programme in 8 countries in Southeast Asia. During 2011-2013, he helped introduce MIST to sites in SE Asia and since 2013, has been actively involved in the training and implementation of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) around the world representing WCS on the User Council and leading the SMART Training Taskforce. He led the development of SMART training handbooks and other resources. He has organized and taught SMART trainings at local and national levels in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao, Jamaica, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zambia. He is actively engaged in discussions about integrating new technologies (Earth Ranger, PAWS) with SMART for use in strengthening conservation implementation.
- SMART conservation tools website:
- SMART forum:
- SMART software and resources:
- Distance sampling –
- Occupancy sampling –
For the last few years we have been working with our team to study the prey base of the snow leopard, as well as suppression of illegal hunting and trade in wild animals and their derivatives.
This course is very important for our work. Throughout the course the trainers presented theoretical methods of using Smart combining presentations with real results obtained in other countries.
Smart allows us to systematize, optimize and facilitate our work in collecting, storing, exchanging, processing and analyzing the obtained data.”
Rahim, Kyrgyz Republic
The session was very informative and the Kazakhstani team is glad to participate in it! We hope that in the future we will be able to discuss more about practical ways to use the SMART – use the mobile version of the app to add, modify, analyse, and share the data obtained.
Overall, it will be great to share our experiences using SMART in the future as well.
My work focuses on collaborating with Government partners to counter illegal wildlife hunting and trade in North East and Southern India.
This course provided me with practical information on setting up and using SMART tools. It also highlighted the creative ways that conservation practitioners from different backgrounds can use these tools. This course has me excited to incorporate SMART in my landscape, and curious about the insights we can glean from it.
We thank the Snow Leopard Network for providing seminar session on SMART in Russian, in particular, we are grateful to the program coordinator Rakhee Karumbaya for organizing and the lecturer Michiel Hötte for leading the session.
Many of the suggestions made during the seminar will be taken into account. In particular, we agree that, in order to protect the rare species, we should focus more on the joint work with staff of protected areas (rangers, department units), and will work on involving them more.
Wildlife Without Borders
Almaty Nature Reserve
Ile-Balkhash State Natural Reserve
Usually, the rangers of our protected areas, in particular, national parks, write their wildlife observations in their workbooks.
With the appearance of spatial monitoring and reporting tool, it became possible to have more precise data, which is extremely helpful while studying carnivores, especially elusive big cats such as snow leopard!
Institute of Zoology, Kazakhstan