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Recovery of snow leopard Uncia uncia in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park, Nepal

  • Som B. Ale (a1), Pralad Yonzon (a2) and Kamal Thapa (a3)

Abstract

From September to November 2004 we conducted surveys of snow leopard Uncia uncia signs in three major valleys in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park in Nepal using the Snow Leopard Information Management System, a standardized survey technique for snow leopard research. We walked 24 transects covering c. 14 km and located 33 sites with 56 snow leopard signs, and 17 signs incidentally in other areas. Snow leopards appear to have re-inhabited the Park, following their disappearance c. 40 years ago, apparently following the recovery of Himalayan tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus and musk deer Moschus chrysogaster populations. Taken together the locations of all 73 recent snow leopard signs indicate that the species is using predominantly grazing land and shrubland/open forest at elevations of 3,000–5,000 m, habitat types that are also used by domestic and wild ungulates. Sagarmatha is the homeland of c. 3,500 Buddhist Sherpas with >3,000 livestock. Along with tourism and associated developments in Sagarmatha, traditional land use practices could be used to ensure coexistence of livestock and wildlife, including the recovering snow leopards, and ensure the wellbeing of the Sherpas.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Resources Himalaya Foundation, GPO Box 2448, Kathmandu, Nepal. E-mail habitat@resourceshimalaya.org
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Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
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