Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 62-70.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016313

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research on snow leopards (Panthera uncia) using camera-trapping in Wolong National Nature Reserve, China

Zhuo Tang1,2, Jian Yang2, Xuehua Liu1,*(), Pengyan Wang2, Zhouyuan Li1   

  1. 1 School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084
    2 Administration Bureau of Wolong National Nature Reserve, Wenchuan, Sichuan 623006
  • Received:2016-11-03 Accepted:2016-12-14 Online:2017-01-20 Published:2017-02-08
  • Contact: Liu Xuehua


Between November 2013 and March 2016, twenty Ltl-6210MC infrared-triggered camera-traps were installed in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China, to monitor snow leopards(Panthera uncia) and other wildlife. A total of 7,056 camera-days of data were collected, including approximately 120,000 photos and video clips. The effective number of snow leopard samples collected by the infrared cameras was 43, and the calculated relative abundance index (RAI) for this species was 6.09. During the 28 months of continuous data collection using infrared cameras, records of snow leopards, including leopard cubs, demonstrated that Wolong National Nature Reserve is a relatively hospitable environment for this species. The analytical results indicate that the annual activity peaked in January, and the daily activity peaked between the hours of 18:00-20:00, and daily activity patterns showed seasonal variations. When considering environmental factors, the preferred habitat is the alpine scree where snow leopards appeared most in the ridge areas and the range of preferred reference temperatures for snow leopard activity was found between -10℃ and -3℃. In addition, the lunar-phase relative abundance index was originally created to assess the appearance of wildlife under different night lightness levels. It was found that the snow leopard is fairly active at night, and the lunar-phase has a significant impact on its level of nocturnal activity (P < 0.01). We provided primary sources for further protection and research of snow leopards and the other wildlife. This study could be utilized to comprehensively learn the ecological characteristics and assess snow leopard habitat.

Key words: snow leopard, infrared camera, Wolong National Nature Reserve, activity pattern, habitat selection, lunar-phase