Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Research on snow leopards using camera-trapping in Wolong Nature Reserve, China (#206)

Xuehua Liu 1 , Zhuo Tang 1 2 , Jian Yang 2 , Pengyan Wang 2 , Zhouyuan Li 1
  1. School of environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  2. Wolong Nature Reserve, Wenchuan, Sichuan, China

Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are mainly distributed in the high mountainous or plateau areas of the middle Asia including 13 countries or regions. It is an endangered species with a wild population of 4,510–7,350 individuals. It has been reported that Wolong Nature Reserve (WNR) has the snow leopard, however, very few studies have been implemented on it in WNR. Our purpose is to monitor this species in WNR using infrared cameras. Between November 2013 and March 2016, twenty Ltl-6210MC infrared cameras were installed to monitor snow leopards. 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 cameras was 43, and the relative abundance index for this species was 6.09. During the 28 months of continuous data collection, records of snow leopards demonstrated that WNR is a relatively hospitable environment for this species. The analytical results indicated that the annual activity of snow leopards peaked in January, and the daily activity peaked between 18:00–20:00. The leopards’ daily activity patterns showed seasonal variation. The preferred habitat is the alpine scree where snow leopards appeared most in the ridge areas. The preferred reference temperature was between –10℃ and –3℃. 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). This study provided primary sources for further protection and research on snow leopards.