Population dynamic of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) in Yunta Village, Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve, China

Moyan Chu, Shujie Liang, Peiyun Li, Ding Jia, Abudusaimaiti Maierdiyali, Xueyang Li, Nan Jiang, Xiang Zhao, Faxiang Li, Lingyun Xiao*, Zhi Lü*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Wildlife population monitoring projects provide important insight and basis for species research and conservation efforts. The snow leopard (Panthera uncia), as the top predator and flagship species of Asian mountainous ecosystems, is of great scientific and conservation interest. However, due to its remote habitat, elusive behavior and large home ranges, long-term population monitoring study on snow leopards is rarely reported. Here we report a long-term population monitoring project of snow leopards in Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (Yunta Village, Haxiu Township, Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province) from Oct. 2013 to Jan. 2019. Methods: We monitored the population using infrared cameras maintained by the local community. We estimated population size and density as well as population growth rate using spatially explicit capture-recapture model (SECR). We calculated population turnover rates and analyzed territory replacement. Results: In total, we identified 35 snow leopard individuals. From SECR, population estimation based on 3-month high-quality data for three consecutive years (2015–2017) suggested stable population dynamic with a growth rate of 1.02. However, individual turnover was obvious with a rate of 0.44, and territory displacement happened around core utilization area of snow leopards. We proposed that the snow leopard population might locate on a potential dispersal pathway of snow leopards, or the camera array only covered a fraction of the population. Conclusion: As the first long-term population monitoring project of snow leopards reported in China, our work highlights the importance of long-term monitoring, and demonstrates the feasibility of mammal population monitoring maintained by local communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22157
JournalBiodiversity Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • camera-trapping
  • population dynamic monitoring
  • snow leopard (Panthera uncia)
  • spatially explicit capture-recapture model


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