High Altitudes

NCF and the Snow Leopard Trust work together in India’s high altitudes, striving to help conserve the snow leopard – as well as the diversity of life & landscapes that this beautiful cat symbolizes – in a scientifically robust and socially responsible manner. We combine research, community involvement, conservation education, and policy-level dimensions.

Ecology

Studies on the ecology of animals and their ecosystems for effective conservation

Dsc 1033

Shared pastures

How mountain ungulates of the trans-Himalaya live together

Walking 20snow 20leopard 20sign 20transect 20above 205 000m

Snow leopard and prey distribution

Factors affecting snow leopard & wild-prey at multiple scales 

Sl 20cam 20trap 201

Snow leopard - prey dynamics

Understanding impact of wild prey availability on snow leopard killing livestock

Conservation

Spiti1 20%2843%29

Freeing up pastures

Communities set aside grazing exclosures to help revive wild ungulate habitat

Dscn9469

People, livestock and snow leopards

Unique livestock insurance schemes betters prospects for herders and carnivores

Shen 20logo 20  20315x210

Shen

An initiative of Snow Leopard Enterprises

People-wildlife interface

Management

Dsc04574

From science to policy

Project Snow Leopard: towards a national conservation policy

People

Funding

Publications

  • Journal Article
    In press
    Distribution and activity pattern of stone marten Martes foina in relation to prey and predators
    Mammalian Biology; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2018.09.013
    Download

    PDF, 1.04 MB

    Small carnivores are expected to optimize their activity to maximize prey capture and minimize their encounter with  predators. We assessed the activity pattern of the stone marten
    Martes foinain relation to its potential prey, the Himalayan woolly hare Lepus oiostolus and the Royle’s pika Ochotona roylei, and its predators, the red fox Vulpes vulpesand the free-ranging dog Canis familiaris. Using three years of camera trapping data from the Indian Trans-Himalaya, we estimated individual and pair-wise spatio-temporal niche width and overlap, respectively, using Levins’ asymmetric index. Stone martens showed limited space use (spatial niche width 0.16) and nocturnal activity (temporal niche width 0.35). They had high temporal (0.75) and low spatial overlap (0.05) with hares; while they had relatively low temporal (0.33) but higher spatial overlap (0.29) with pikas. Red foxes showed relatively high temporal (1.21) and spatial (0.75) overlap with martens, while free-ranging dogs showed low temporal (0.23) and spatial (0.03) overlap with martens. Although restricted space and time use by pikas might help martens track pikas even with relatively low spatio-temporal overlap, martens may be benefiting from higher temporal overlap with hares. While martens seem to be co-existing with foxes, their nocturnal activity might be driven by a trade-off between consuming prey and avoidance of diurnal predators like dogs.

  • Journal Article
    2019
    Sampling bias in snow leopard population estimation studies
    Population Ecology 10.1002/1438-390X.1027
    Download

    PDF, 10.1 MB

    Accurate assessments of the status of threatened species and their conservation planning require reliable estimation of their global populations and robust monitoring of local population trends. We assessed the adequacy and suitability of studies in reliably estimating the global snow leopard (Panthera uncia) population. We compiled a dataset of all the peer-reviewed published literature on snow leopard population estimation. Metadata analysis showed estimates of snow leopard density to be a negative exponential function of area, suggesting that study areas have generally been too small for accurate density estimation, and sampling has often been biased towards the best habitats. Published studies are restricted to six of the 12 range countries, covering only 0.3–0.9% of the presumed global range of the species. Re-sampling of camera trap data from a relatively large study site (c.1684 km2) showed that small-sized study areas together with a bias towards good quality habitats in existing studies may have overestimated densities by up to five times. We conclude that current information is biased and inadequate for generating a reliable global population estimate of snow leopards. To develop a rigorous and useful baseline and to avoid pitfalls, there is an urgent need for (a) refinement of sampling and analytical protocols for population estimation of snow leopards (b) agreement and coordinated use of standardized sampling protocols amongst researchers and governments across the range, and (c) sampling larger and under-represented areas of the snow leopard's global range.

  • Report
    2018
    Understanding distribution, population density and conservation status of the endemic and threatened Ladakh urial Ovis orientalis vignei
    Download

    PDF, 2.93 MB

  • Book Chapter
    2018
    Living with Snow Leopards: a pluralistic approach to conservation
    In Conservation from the Margins. (Eds) Umesh Srinivasan & Nandini Velho. Orient Blackswan
    Download

    PDF, 1.68 MB

  • Report
    2018
    Population assessment of the Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) using the Double-observer Survey method in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve
    Technical Report, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India
    Download

    PDF, 4.59 MB

  • Popular Article
    2018
    When shepherds must kill their lambs
    Sanctuary Asia, August issue, Pages 71-72
    Download

    PDF, 1.39 MB

  • Conference Proceedings
    2018
    Snow leopard and prey: Landscape-level distribution modeling & impacts of migratory livestock grazing in Symposium Assimilated Knowledges: an integrated approach to conservation in snow leopard landscapes
    Conservation Asia, 2018, Society for Conservation Biology
  • Book Chapter
    2018
    Large Carnivore and Conservation and Management
    Charudutt Mishra, justine Shanti Alexander, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Orjan Johansson, Koustubh Sharma, Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Gustaf Samelius
    Download

    PDF, 1.44 MB

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Local community neutralizes traditional wolf traps and builds a stupa
    Oryx
  • Journal Article
    2017
    Commensal in conflict: Livestock depredation patterns by free-ranging domestic dogs in the Upper Spiti Landscape, Himachal Pradesh, India
    Chandrima Home, Ranjana Pal, Rishi Kumar Sharma, Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Abi Tamim Vanak
    Ambio: doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0858-6
    Download

    PDF, 1.89 MB

    In human-populated landscapes worldwide, domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the most abundant terrestrial carnivore. Although dogs have been used for the protection of livestock from wild carnivores, they have also been implicated as predators of livestock. We used a combination of methods (field surveys, interview surveys, and data from secondary sources) to examine the patterns and factors driving livestock depredation by free-ranging dogs, as well as economic losses to local communities in a Trans-Himalayan agro-pastoralist landscape in India. Our results show that livestock abundance was a better predictor of depredation in the villages than local dog abundance. Dogs mainly killed small-bodied livestock and sheep were the most selected prey. Dogs were responsible for the majority of livestock losses, with losses being comparable to that by snow leopards. This high level of conflict may disrupt community benefits from conservation programs and potentially undermine the conservation efforts in the region through a range of cascading effects.

Did you know your internet explorer is out of date?

To access our website you should upgrade to a newer version or other web browser.

How to do that »