The Endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia is a flagship species of mountainous central Asia, and a conservation concern. China has the largest extent of potential snow leopard habitat and is thus crucial for snow leopard conservation. There are many challenges to snow leopard conservation in China, however, and there is still little information on the species for many geographical locations, including the Tianshan Mountains of Xinjiang province, which are important because they potentially connect snow leopard populations in Krygyzstan and Kazakhstan with those in Mongolia. We used camera traps in four areas across eastern, central and western Tianshan, with a total survey effort of 3,216 camera-trapping days. We confirmed the presence of snow leopards and an abundance of potential snow leopard prey, including the Siberian ibex Capra sibirica, in all areas. We found 2–3 individual adult snow leopards at each site, with relatively limited survey effort, and more study is needed to fully investigate the importance of the Tianshan Mountains for the species. Establishing more protected areas is essential for snow leopard conservation, and we have used data from this study to apply for protected area status for several areas.
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