Human-snow leopard conflicts in the Sanjiangyuan Region of the Tibetan Plateau

Juan Li, Hang Yin, Dajun Wang, Zhala Jiagong, Zhi Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Conflicts between humans and snow leopards are documented across much of their overlapping distribution in Central Asia. These conflicts manifest themselves primarily in the form of livestock depredation and the killing of snow leopards by local herders. This source of mortality to snow leopards is a key conservation concern. To investigate human-snow leopard conflicts in the Sanjiangyuan Region of the Tibetan Plateau, we conducted household interviews about local herders' traditional use of snow leopard parts, livestock depredation, and overall attitudes towards snow leopards. We found most respondents (58%) knew that snow leopard parts had been used for traditional customs in the past, but they claimed not in the past two or three decades. It may be partly due to the issuing of the Protection of Wildlife Law in 1998 by the People's Republic of China. Total livestock losses were damaging (US$ 6193 per household in the past 1. year), however snow leopards were blamed by herders for only a small proportion of those losses (10%), as compared to wolves (45%) and disease (42%). Correspondingly, the cultural images of snow leopards were neutral (78%) and positive (9%) on the whole. It seems that human-snow leopard conflict is not intense in this area. However, snow leopards could be implicated by the retaliatory killing of wolves. We recommend a multi-pronged conservation program that includes compensation, insurance programs, and training local veterinarians to reduce livestock losses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume166
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attitude
  • Cultural image
  • Economic value
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Livestock depredation
  • Panthera uncia
  • Traditional use

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