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Conservation of snow leopards: spill-over benefits for other carnivores?

  • Justine S. Alexander (a1), Jeremy J. Cusack (a2), Chen Pengju (a1), Shi Kun (a1) and Philip Riordan (a1)...

In high-altitude settings of Central Asia the Endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia has been recognized as a potential umbrella species. As a first step in assessing the potential benefits of snow leopard conservation for other carnivores, we sought a better understanding of the presence of other carnivores in areas occupied by snow leopards in China's Qilianshan National Nature Reserve. We used camera-trap and sign surveys to examine whether other carnivores were using the same travel routes as snow leopards at two spatial scales. We also considered temporal interactions between species. Our results confirm that other carnivores, including the red fox Vulpes vulpes, grey wolf Canis lupus, Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx and dhole Cuon alpinus, occur along snow leopard travel routes, albeit with low detection rates. Even at the smaller scale of our camera trap survey all five carnivores (snow leopard, lynx, wolf, red fox and dhole) were observed. Kernel density estimates suggested a high degree of temporal overlap between the snow leopard and the fox, and the snow leopard and the lynx, as indicated by high overlap coefficient estimates. There is an opportunity to consider protective measures at the local scale that would benefit various species simultaneously. However, it should also be recognized that snow leopard conservation efforts could exacerbate human–wildlife conflicts through their protective effect on other carnivore species.

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  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
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