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Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

The Snow Lepoard is considered to be an elusive animal, and the country of Nepal is destined on making sure it survives for many years to come. The Snow Leopard is considered to be a species at risk caused by habitat loss, game hunting, and killed by local farmers. Devkota et al. found that on average farmers lose 3.6 animals each year representing 11% of their total livestock, with goats and sheep being the primary target of the snow leopard. The wild prey was observed and had combined density of 195.3 individuals per km2; the wild prey consists of blue sheep, musk deer, Himalayan marmot, Tibetan snowcock, Himalayan snowcock, hare, Royle’s pika and chukar. There is a wide variety of prey available but the blue sheep and small mammals tended to be the favourite animals for the snow leopard to feast on which was found through scat analysis.

The Government of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation decided to get involved and in 2013 made major advancements through the attachment of the first GPS tracking collar on a snow leopard. Before their primary methods of tracking involved use of many field cameras, as well are working with locals from the communities to designate the hot spots of the snow leopards to better manage their areas. The particular GPS collar that was attached will be monitored for the next two years to track the area in which the animal travels. The Government of Nepal has gained interest by involving local citizens to aid in the conservation method because they have knowledge of the areas and don’t want to lose the species.

Other countries along the Himalayan Mountains are aware of the species decline but not as committed, as globally there are an estimated 4,600 snow leopards and Nepal contains about 500 of those. China carries the largest population just over 2,500 but their populations are decreasing the quickest due to poaching for the bones and furs of the animal for medicines. The Government of Nepal though has had success in involvement by making communities aware of the animal, as well as giving them local snow leopard populations to monitor by tracking them and retrieving trail cameras to monitor populations. Another example shown in the National Post from 2011 is that in Nepal they got help from local schools through field trips in elementary schools, getting children help  with the installation of field cameras and animal tracking. The end conclusion would be that Nepal is able to gain support for the cause by involving locals of the community, as well as reach a major stepping stone by installing a GPS collar that can track the animal for 2 years. The involvement from members of the communities of all ages helps with conservation efforts as instead of just a small group of people involving everyone helps with conservation efforts.

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Devkota, B. P., Silwal, T., and Kolejka, J. 2013. Prey density and diet of snow leopard (Unica Unica) in Shey Phoskundo National Park, Nepal. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 1(4)-55-60.

http://pubs.sciepub.com/aees/1/4/4/

World Wildlife Foundation, Snow Leopard

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/successes/?213420/Snow-leopard-successfully-collared-in-Nepals-Himalayas#

Image Location

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/snow-leopards-threatened-by-climate-change

National Post Article

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/08/school-children-in-nepal-enlisted-to-track-rare-snow-leopard/

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17 thoughts on “Snow Leopard

  1. I really feel that education is what can ultimately make the most difference i am glad that people are doing something about this

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