High Altitudes

Snow leopard and prey distribution

Factors affecting snow leopard & wild-prey at multiple scales 

A multi-scale approach provides understanding on how different factors are working to shape snow leopard and wild-prey occurrences and relative abundance at large and fine spatial scales.

From large to fine spatial scale

For a wide-ranging species like snow leopard understanding its distribution at large-spatial scale is necessary to better inform conservation management at state or regional scale. At the same time examining how wild-prey of snow leopard and the habitat gets affected by different forms of natural resource use is needed to manage wild-prey populations and habitat at the level of a valley / catchment.

Migratory grazing & snow leopard habitat

Decline in wild-prey population due to rangeland degradation by livestock grazing is a serious problem to snow leopard conservation. While impacts of resident livestock grazing has been documented, impact of migratory livestock grazing remains poorly understood and has been socio-politically contentious, being more often dealt through activism than science-based ecological evidence.

One of the primary objectives of the current project is to identify factors affecting distribution of snow leopard and its primary prey, the bharal and ibex and understand how these factors affect prey distribution and abundance. A second objective is to evaluate the effect of migratory livestock grazing on vegetation and relative abundance of wild-prey. Assessing the underlying drivers of change and identifying what directions conservation-oriented migratory grazing practices might need to take comprises yet another project goal.

Objectives

  • Examining changes in and factors affecting distribution of snow leopard and its primary prey, bharal and ibex

  • Evaluate effect of migratory livestock grazing on vegetation and relative abundance of wild-prey of snow leopard

  • Assessing underlying drivers of changes and future directions in migratory grazing practices