Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (9): 22157.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022157

Special Issue: 青藏高原生物多样性与生态安全

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Population dynamic of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) in Yunta Village, Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve, China

Moyan Chu1,2, Shujie Liang2, Peiyun Li2,3, Ding Jia1, Abudusaimaiti Maierdiyali1, Xueyang Li1, Nan Jiang2, Xiang Zhao2, Faxiang Li4, Lingyun Xiao3,*(), Zhi Lü1,2,*()   

  1. 1. Center for Nature and Society, College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
    2. Shan Shui Conservation Center, Beijing 100871
    3. Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123
    4. Sanjiangyuan National Park Administration, Xining 810000
  • Received:2022-04-01 Accepted:2022-09-19 Online:2022-09-20 Published:2022-09-26
  • Contact: Lingyun Xiao,Zhi Lü


Aims: Wildlife population monitoring projects provide important insight and basis for species research and conservation efforts. The snow leopard (Panthera uncia), as the top predator and flagship species of Asian mountainous ecosystems, is of great scientific and conservation interest. However, due to its remote habitat, elusive behavior and large home ranges, long-term population monitoring study on snow leopards is rarely reported. Here we report a long-term population monitoring project of snow leopards in Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (Yunta Village, Haxiu Township, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province) from Oct. 2013 to Jan. 2019.
Methods: We monitored the population using infrared cameras maintained by the local community. We estimated population size and density as well as population growth rate using spatially explicit capture-recapture model (SECR). We calculated population turnover rates and analyzed territory replacement.
Results: In total, we identified 35 snow leopard individuals. From SECR, population estimation based on 3-month high-quality data for three consecutive years (2015-2017) suggested stable population dynamic with a growth rate of 1.02. However, individual turnover was obvious with a rate of 0.44, and territory displacement happened around core utilization area of snow leopards. We proposed that the snow leopard population might locate on a potential dispersal pathway of snow leopards, or the camera array only covered a fraction of the population.
Conclusion: As the first long-term population monitoring project of snow leopards reported in China, our work highlights the importance of long-term monitoring, and demonstrates the feasibility of mammal population monitoring maintained by local communities.

Key words: snow leopard (Panthera uncia), population dynamic monitoring, camera-trapping, spatially explicit capture-recapture model