Publication Alert – New Article to the Bibliography

Please see details below, of a new article added to our Bibliography.

Title: Patterns of Livestock Depredation and Large Carnivore
Conservation Implications in the Indian Trans-Himalaya

Authors: Maheshwari, A., Sathyakumar, S.

Abstract:  Livestock is one of the major sources of livelihood for the
agro-pastoral communities in central and south Asia. Livestock
depredation by large carnivores is a wide-ranging issue that leads to
economic losses and a deviance from co-existence. We investigated the
grass root factors causing livestock depredation in Kargil, Ladakh and
tested the findings of diet analysis in validating reported livestock
depredation. Globally vulnerable snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and more
common wolf (Canis lupus) were the two main wild predators. A total of
1113 heads of livestock were reportedly killed by wolf (43.6%) followed
by unknown predators (31.4%) and snow leopard (21.5%) in the study site
from 2009 to 2012, which comes to 2.8% annual livestock losses. Scat
analysis also revealed a significant amount of livestock in the diet of
snow leopard (47%) and wolf (51%). Poor livestock husbandry practices
and traditional livestock corrals were found to be the major drivers
contributing in the livestock depredation. Based on the research
findings, we worked with the local communities to sensitize them about
wildlife conservation and extended limited support for predator proof
livestock corrals at a small scale. Eventually it helped in reducing
conflict level and conserving the globally threatened carnivores. We
conclude that a participatory approach has been successful to generate
an example in reducing large carnivore-human conflict in the west
Himalaya.

URL: 
https://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Maheshwari_and_Sathyakumar_2020.pdf

SLN Webinar- Special Guest- Reflections from the past

Snow leopard conservation: Reflections from the past

We would like to invite you to our fourth SLN webinar of 2020. This webinar takes us back to consider snow leopard conservation efforts over the longer term. We are extremely pleased to welcome our guest Raghu Chundawat who has followed snow leopard conservation since the 1980s and was one of the first to complete a PhD with a focus on the elusive cat. As we look ahead to the future it is important we know where we have come from, what has changed and what hasn’t. Join us for this very special Webinar where we travel to the past and hear important perspectives of conservation developing over this extensive stretch of time. 

More on the talk: Raghu Chundawat will be sharing reflections on a time when very little was known about the snow leopard. In particular, he will share recollections of the very real challenges of studying snow leopards in the wild. He will share stories from following snow leopards for hundreds of kilometres in the unforgiving rugged mountains. Finally Raghu will give his thoughts on how to support and bring about long term community conservation. Raghu will be joined by Joe Fox who is known for having led one of the first snow leopard surveys in India and who was a key supporter and guide to Raghu’s early conservation work in Ladakh. 

Structure: Our guest will be interviewed by Dr. Koustubh Sharma for 30 min followed by a 30 min discussion period. Joe Fox will join as a discussant. During the talk feel free to write questions in the chat section that we can take forward during the discussion section.

More about our guest: Raghu Chundawat is a distinguished conservation biologist who has worked on snow leopard and tiger conservation since the 1980s. His PhD was on snow leopards in Ladakh (1985-93) and he was the Regional Science and Conservation Director of the Snow Leopard Trust (2005-08). He has been a witness—and participant—in the progression of conservation efforts in Ladakh.

Date/Time: August 4th, 2020 Tuesday 15:30 India time (Please log into the meeting 5 min early to set up)

Location: ZOOM, to join this talk  REGISTER HERE  

Please note:

    • If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
    • During the talk, please keep your microphone muted.
    • Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
    • The Zoom event is limited to 100 participants. Please register for the event and also sign in early to ensure your place.

SLN Training Initiative – Community Conservation – Module 3

This course is Module 3 of the Snow Leopard Network’s training initiative.

Course Content 

Engaging and partnering with local communities is critical to the success of conservation efforts. The practical challenges of achieving effective engagement are considerable and conservation practitioners often learn from trial and error.

A set of principles and guidelines for community-based conservation, called the ‘PARTNERS principles’, have been developed based on the extensive experience of snow leopard conservation practitioners. They comprise a set of eight key principles for effectively taking forward community-based conservation programs. The principles have evolved into a workshop and an online toolkit to allow for practitioners to gather and discuss experiences and conservation issues. We hope that these principles will help us reflect on our work and think of how we can work towards developing stronger and more resilient relationships with community partners. If you are a conservation practitioner, or are preparing to work in conservation, the Partner Principles may help you explore, discuss and share different perspectives and approaches to community-based conservation. This module was developed in partnership with the Snow Leopard Trust

Meet the Trainers

This module has been co-created by a team of snow leopard conservation practitioners. The live training sessions will be led by a subset of this team. Additional special guests from across the snow leopard range will also be invited to share their expertise and experiences.

Ajay supports conservation efforts in the regions of Ladakh and Spiti valley in India. Over the last eight years, he has worked on setting up, running and monitoring community-conservation efforts in these regions. This effort aims at trying to create conditions conducive for conservation. More recently he has also been facilitating the process of building capacity for community-based conservation in snow leopard range countries.  

Juliette Young is a Professor at the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comte, where she studies the human dimensions of biodiversity conservation. Much of her work focuses on the role of different actors, especially decision-makers and local communities, in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity. She has been working with the Snow Leopard Trust since 2016 on training in community-based conservation. 

Justine is the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network. She provides support to the evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of community conservation initiatives to partners across the snow leopard range. Justine also acts as the Regional Ecologist for the Snow Leopard Trust and supports research and conservation work across in China, Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Pakistan.

Criteria for participation

  • Snow Leopard Network Member
  • Experience or willingness to work on snow leopard conservation efforts
  • Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
  • Number of participants is limited to 25
  • Priority will be given to participants from snow leopard range countries 

Planned Schedule

  • 2.5 hour online Zoom Seminars take place every Wednesday of the month, September 2020 (4 Seminars; Sep 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th) at 14:00 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan time.
  • Additional group work, assignments or readings are likely to be organized by the trainers
  • Please note we expect all participants to attend the complete set of Wednesday Seminars as they are interconnected and build on each other
  • Details of each specific Seminar topic will be shared approximately 5 days beforehand; including any expected preparations by participants.

Deadline for Applications

  • Friday, August 15th, 2020. Please note places are limited so please do
    not delay in applying.
  • Please Submit the following Application Form

 

Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopards: The Why & How – Webinar recording

 

Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopards: The Why & How

We would like to invite you to our third SLN webinar of 2020. Having heard updates from China and Mongolia, this month’s Webinar turns towards a global perspective of snow leopard conservation. We are extremely pleased to welcome our guests- Dr. David Borchers and Dr. Koustubh Sharma- who will take us into the world of numbers and statistics about snow leopards in a practitioner friendly way.  

Our speakers, Dr. David Borchers and Dr. Koustubh Sharma, will take us through the Why and the How of assessing the global snow leopard population. We will discover the story of why (and when) the initiative of Population Assessment of the World’s Snow leopards (PAWS) emerged. We will also discuss how PAWS can be achieved, including key ideas of spatial capture-recapture (SCR) and the power of SCR to analyse survey data. Finally we will cover the latest developments in this fast-developing area of research. 

Thank you to all our participants who attended the live event. If you missed it please see the recording below. 

Publication Alert – A new note and two articles added to our Bibliography

Note

Title: Woolly flying squirrel Eupetaurus Cinereus: A new addition to the diet of snow leopard Panthera Uncia

Authors: Pal, R., Bhattacharya, T., Sathyakumar, S.

URL: http://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Pal_et_al_2020_JBNHS_Note.pdf

 

Articles

Title: Community participation in ecotourism and its effect on local perceptions of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) conservation

Authors: Vannelli, K., Hampton, M. P., Namgail, T., Black, S. A.

Abstract: Local support and involvement is often essential for effective wildlife conservation.  This study assessed the impact of local involvement in ecotourism schemes on perceptions of wildlife, promotion of conservation action, types of values that communities placed on wildlife, and contexts in which wildlife are considered to be most valuable.  The study used qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted in seven villages in Ladakh, India, which is an important region of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) habitat.  Results indicated that in these communities, ecotourism-based interventions encourage more positive perceptions of wildlife species, in particular the snow leopard.  Achieving change in community perceptions of wildlife is key when implementing ecotourism schemes to enable more effective conservation, as well as generating local awareness and value for wildlife toward problematic keystone species such as the snow leopard, which are frequently the focus of human-wildlife conflict.

URL: http://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Vanelli_et_al_2019.pdf

 

 

 

Title: Modelling potential habitat for snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in Ladakh, India

 

Authors: Watts, S. W., McCarthy, T. M., Namgail, T.

 

Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia is an elusive species inhabiting some of the most remote and inaccessible tracts of Central and South Asia. It is difficult to determine its distribution and density pattern, which are crucial for developing conservation strategies. Several techniques for species detection combining camera traps with remote sensing and geographic information systems have been developed to model the habitat of such cryptic and low-density species in challenging terrains. Utilising presence-only data from camera traps and direct observations, alongside six environmental variables (elevation, aspect, ruggedness, distance to water, land cover, and prey habitat suitability), we assessed snow leopard habitat suitability across Ladakh in northern India. This is the first study to model snow leopard distribution both in India and utilising direct observation data. Results suggested that elevation and ruggedness are the two most influential environmental variables for snow leopard habitat suitability, with highly suitable habitat having an elevation range of 2,800 m to 4,600 m and ruggedness of 450 m to 1,800 m. Our habitat suitability map estimated approximately 12% of Ladakh’s geographical area (c. 90,000 km2) as highly suitable and 18% as medium suitability. We found that 62.5% of recorded livestock depredation along with over half of all livestock corrals (54%) and homestays (58%) occurred within highly suitable snow leopard habitat. Our habitat suitability model can be used to assist in allocation of conservation resources by targeting construction of livestock corrals to areas of high habitat suitability and promoting ecotourism programs in villages in highly suitable snow leopard habitat.

URL:

 

 

 

  http://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Watts_et_al_2019.pdf

SLN Webinar – Special Guest – PAWS

 

We would like to invite you to our third SLN webinar of 2020. Having heard updates from China and Mongolia, this month’s Webinar turns towards a global perspective of snow leopard conservation. We are extremely pleased to welcome our guests- Dr. David Borchers and Dr. Koustubh Sharma- who will take us into the world of numbers and statistics about snow leopards in a practitioner friendly way.  

Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopards: The Why & How

Assessing the global population of snow leopards remains one of the most challenging endeavours that the snow leopard community is faced with. Developing robust statistical approaches that can count such an elusive species found in Asia’s high altitude and mountainous areas is a key step towards better understanding the species’s ecology and conservation status. 

Our speakers, Dr. David Borchers and Dr. Koustubh Sharma, will take us through the Why and the How of assessing the global snow leopard population. We will discover the story of why (and when) the initiative of Population Assessment of the World’s Snow leopards (PAWS) emerged. We will also discuss how PAWS can be achieved, including key ideas of spatial capture-recapture (SCR) and the power of SCR to analyse survey data. Finally we will cover the latest developments in this fast-developing area of research. 

Structure: The 30 min presentation by our guest speaker will be followed by a 30 min discussion period. During the talk feel free to write questions in the chat section that we can take forward during the discussion section.

More about our guests:

Dr. David Borchers is a distinguished academic  at the University of St Andrews, with more than 30 years experience developing and applying statistical methods to address problems in ecology. His current main research interests focus on spatial capture-recapture and related methods.

Dr. Koustubh Sharma is the International Coordinator of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) and a Senior Regional Ecologist at the Snow Leopard Trust. With nearly 20 years of experience in ecological research, wildlife conservation and training, he helps build collaborations and coordinate alliances and at multiple levels for snow leopard research and conservation.

Date/Time: 21 July, 2020 Tuesday 11:00 am United Kingdom (Please log into the meeting 5 min early to set up) 

Location: ZOOM, to join this talk REGISTER HERE 

Please note:

    • If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
    • Also note that as of May 30, 2020, all Zoom clients on older versions will receive a forced upgrade when trying to join meetings and this may take time to download.
    • During the talk, please keep your microphone muted.
    • Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
    • The Zoom event is limited to 100 participants. Please register for the event and also sign in early to ensure your place.

 

 

SLN Training Initiative – Ungulate Surveys – Module 2

The Snow Leopard Network is launching its first on line research and conservation training course. These consist of a series of modules, each over a one month period, in which participants build their skills and knowledge on a range of critical snow leopard related conservation tools. Do join us!

Our first set of topics centers on the idea of a holistic approach for snow leopard practitioners- from survey methods to community conservation approaches. The idea is for these to be as practical as possible, explicitly designed, for teams on the ground. The first set of Modules will cover topics that include: Camera Trapping surveys (Module 1); Prey Surveys (Module 2); Community Conservation approaches (Module 3); and Socio-economic Assessments (Module 4). See more details here.

Each Module will be delivered over a one month period and members can apply to specific Modules depending on your interest. Teaching methods will be a mix of online and distance learning; all will be open access. Our trainers are drawn from the Snow Leopard Network, drawing on their extensive knowledge and experience. We are very appreciative of their finding time to join us in this effort and we look forward to members taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity.  

Today we are pleased to invite SLN members to apply and take part in Module 2 of this training initiative- which will take place in August. Module 2 will focus on surveys for assessing ungulate populations (snow
leopard prey). The application will be open for future Modules one month prior to their start, so please stay tuned.

Module 2: Studying the Mountain Monarchs of High Asia.

Course Content

Asia’s mountain ungulates- also known as the Mountain Monarchs of high Asia- play an important role in maintaining ecosystems by influencing vegetation structure and nutrient cycling. These include Argali (Ovis ammon), Blue Sheep (Pseudois nayaur), Asiatic Ibex (Capra sibirica), Urial (Ovis orientalis) and Markhor (Capra falconeri). However, owing to their remote mountainous habitats and associated challenges in sampling, there is a lack of information regarding their abundance, population trends and ecology. 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. Our Module 2 aims to equip participants with the knowledge and tools to plan and carry out robust mountain ungulate surveys using the Double-observer Method. We will also dive into understanding the fascinating ecology of these species based on the latest research. The module will be divided into 4 parts and cover key concepts from planning surveys, conducting them, analysing data, and using outcomes for conservation action, publication and/or policy. Alongside we will have fascinating talks by subject experts, sharing their experiences and outputs. This is critical as conservation status assessment of any species requires rigorous monitoring of their abundances, which done over time, can provide knowledge of population trends.

Participants will be expected to have the Software R
(https://www.r-project.org/) and RStudio downloaded and setup on
computer. Additionally we recommend the installation of Google Earth Pro and/or other GIS software such as QGIS (https://www.qgis.org/en/site/).

Meet the Trainers

This module has been co-created by a team of researchers and practitioners from across the snow leopard range, including India, Pakistan, Mongolia and China. The live training sessions will be led by a subset of this team. Additional special guests may also be invited to share their expertise.

Munib Khanyari is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Bristol and Oxford University in the UK. He works on understanding factors that affect mountain ungulate populations in Central and South Asia. 

Hussain Ali, is the Regional Project Manager for the Pakistan Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program (PSLEP) and a Manager with Snow Leopard Foundation- Pakistan.

Purevjav (Puji) Lkhagvajav is a Research and Monitoring Managers for the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, Mongolia. She has over 15 years of working in snow leopard conservation and research in Mongolia.

Chagsadulam (Chagsaa) Odonjavkhlan is a PhD Candidate with Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, Mongolia and has been studying Argali and Ibex in the Tost mountains of Mongolia.

Lingyun Xiao is currently a Postdoc research fellow at the Peking University and scientific consultant of the ShanShui Conservation Center, China. She completed her PhD on understanding grassland, ungulate and snow leopard dependence in 2017.

Together the module co-creators have worked to protect and studied mountain ungulates including Argali, Asiatic Ibex, Blue Sheep, Markhor and Urial across India, Pakistan, Mongolia, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Criteria for participation
•      Snow Leopard Network Member
•      Experience or willingness to work on mountain ungulate and snow leopard conservation
•      Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
•      Number of participants is limited to 40
•      Priority will be given to participants from snow leopard range
countries

Planned Schedule
•       2 hour online Zoom Seminars take place every Wednesday of the month, August
2020 (4 Seminars; Aug 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th) at 14:00 Bishkek,
Kyrgyzstan time
•       Additional group work, assignments or readings are likely to be
organized by the trainers
•       Please note we expect all participants to attend the complete set of
Wednesday Seminars as they are interconnected and build on each other
•       Details of each specific Seminar topic will be shared approximately 5 days beforehand; including any expected preparations by participants.

Deadline for Applications
•      Friday, July 15th, 2020. Please note places are limited so please do
not delay in applying.
•     We are now closed for Application. Please apply for Module 3 which will be open on August 1st. 

 

Mapping the snow leopard across Mongolia – Dr. Gantulga Bayandonoi – Webinar recording

A joint effort to map the snow leopard across Mongolia

We invite you to watch our second Snow Leopard Network webinar of this series; updates from snow leopard range countries. Our guest Dr. Gantulga Bayandonoi, from WWF-Mongolia, shares with us recent updates on a country level distribution survey of snow leopards in Mongolia. Dr. Bayandonoi’s presentation of 20 minutes is followed by a vibrant discussion on the conservation of the species and the National survey covering the entire snow leopard range of the country. Thank you to all the participants who joined us.

Publication Alert – Two Books added to the Bibliography

We have added two books to our bibliography.

1. Karnaukhov А. S., Korablev М. P., Kuksin А. N., Malykh S. V., Poyarkov А. D., Spitsyn S. V., Chistopolova М. D., Hernandez-Blanco J. A. Snow Leopard Population Monitoring Guidebook. – WWF. Krasnoyarsk. 2020 – 164 pp. (you can download it by the link: https://wwf.ru/en/resources/publications/booklets/materialy-k-rukovodstvu-po-monitoringu-sostoyaniya-populyatsii-snezhnogo-barsa/) – English version

URL:https://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Karnaukhov_et_al_2020.pdf

2. Карнаухов А. С. Материалы к руководству по мониторингу состояния популяции снежного барса / А. С. Карнаухов, М. П. Кораблев, А. Н. Куксин, С. В. Малых, А. Д. Поярков, С. В. Спицын, М. Д. Чистополова, Х. А. Эрнандес-Бланко. – Красноярск: Все мирный фонд дикой природы (WWF), 2020. – 168 с. (you can dowlload it by the link: https://wwf.ru/resources/publications/booklets/materialy-k-rukovodstvu-po-monitoringu-sostoyaniya-populyatsii-snezhnogo-barsa/) – Russian version

URL:https://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Karnaukhov_et_al_2020_ru.pdf

Snow Leopard Conversations – Paper Discussion with Dr. Ranjini Murali

Ecosystem service dependence in livestock and crop-based production systems in Asia’s high mountains.

Our first ever paper discussion was held on 22 June, 2020 with Dr. Ranjini Murali. Ranjini discussed how local communities are integral partners in snow leopard conservation. This research points to ways that ecosystem service based approaches can be applied for snow leopard conservation. For example, we can work with local communities, identify and strengthen management practices that prevent overharvest of provisioning services. Or, we could develop market-based mechanisms that ensure investments back into snow leopard landscapes, since ecosystem services heavily subside the outputs like cashmere, from these landscapes.

We wish to thank Ranjini for taking the time to do this and also wish to thank our participants for joining this discussion.  We hope to have more such interactive sessions in the future.