Snow leopard and prey distribution

Factors affecting snow leopard & wild-prey at multiple scalesĀ 

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.

  • Walking with a Gaddi herder along the Chenab River, Lahaul.

  • The core area of the Pin Valley National Park is a heavily grazed area

  • Sheep being herded to pasture from a camp-site in the interior of Pin Valley. Sheep and goat are often separately grazed on gentler and steep-cliff-dominated terrain, respectively.

  • Kibber village, its agricultural area, and the cold-desert landscape in Spiti Valley.

  • The apparently barren slopes along the Chandra River are one of the most heavily grazed areas. Upper Chandra River, Lahaul.

  • A camp-site of migratory herder in Pin Valley

  • Walking snow leopard sign transect, Spiti.

  • Surveying for ibex in one of the tributaries of Ensa nala, Pin Valley

  • A large group of livestock grazing near Chandra Tal, Chandra Valley, Lahaul

  • A herd of ibex, Spiti

  • Research team's camp-site at Haronaro, Ensa nala, Pin Valley

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.

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

People

Partners

  • Himachal Pradesh Forest Department (Wildlife Wing)

Funding

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