Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Status assessment of the Endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia and other large mammals in the Kyrgyz Alay, using community knowledge corrected for imperfect detection

  • Julia Taubmann (a1), Koustubh Sharma (a2), Kubanychbek Zhumabai Uulu (a2), James E. Hines (a3) and Charudutt Mishra (a2)...

The Endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia occurs in the Central Asian Mountains, which cover c. 2 million km2. Little is known about its status in the Kyrgyz Alay Mountains, a relatively narrow stretch of habitat connecting the southern and northern global ranges of the species. In 2010 we gathered information on current and past (1990, the last year of the Soviet Union) distributions of snow leopards and five sympatric large mammals across 14,000 km2 of the Kyrgyz Alay. We interviewed 95 key informants from local communities. Across 49 400-km2 grid cells we obtained 1,606 and 962 records of species occurrence (site use) in 1990 and 2010, respectively. The data were analysed using the multi-season site occupancy framework to incorporate uncertainty in detection across interviewees and time periods. High probability of use by snow leopards in the past was recorded in > 70% of the Kyrgyz Alay. Between the two sampling periods 39% of sites showed a high probability of local extinction of snow leopard. We also recorded high probability of local extinction of brown bear Ursus arctos (84% of sites) and Marco Polo sheep Ovis ammon polii (47% of sites), mainly in regions used intensively by people. Data indicated a high probability of local colonization by lynx Lynx lynx in 41% of the sites. Although wildlife has declined in areas of central and eastern Alay, regions in the north-west, and the northern and southern fringes appear to retain high conservation value.

Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail,
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

D.R. Anderson & K.P. Burnham (2002) Avoiding pitfalls when using informationtheoretic methods. Journal of Wildlife Management, 66, 912918.

L.L. Bailey , J.E. Hines , J.D. Nichols & D.I. MacKenzie (2007) Sampling design trade-offs in occupancy studies with imperfect detection: examples and software. Ecological Applications, 17, 281290.

L.L. Bailey , T.R. Simons & K.H. Pollock (2004) Estimating site occupancy and species detection probability parameters for terrestrial salamanders. Ecological Applications, 14, 692702.

J.S. Brashares (2003) Ecological, behavioral, and life-history correlates of mammal extinctions in West Africa. Conservation Biology, 17, 733743.

M. Cabeza , M.B. Araújo , R.J. Wilson , C.D. Thomas , M.J.R. Cowley & A. Moilanen (2004) Combining probabilities of occurrence with spatial reserve. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41, 252262.

M. Cardillo , G.M. Mace , K.E. Jones , J. Bielby , O.R.P. Bininda-Emonds , W. Sechrest (2005) Multiple causes of high extinction risk in large mammal species. Science, 309, 12391241.

M. Cardillo , A. Purvis , W. Sechrest , J.L. Gittleman , J. Bielby & G.M. Mace (2004) Human population density and extinction risk in the world's carnivores. PLoS Biology, 2(7), e197.

K.R. Crooks & M.E. Soulé (1999) Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system. Nature, 400, 563566.

A. Harihar , B. Pandav & S.P. Goyal (2011) Responses of leopard Panthera pardus to the recovery of a tiger Panthera tigris population. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48, 806814.

S. Izumiyama , M. Anarbaev & T. Watanabe (2009) Inhabitation of larger mammals in the Alai Valley of the Kyrgyz Republic. Geographical Studies, 84, 1421.

R.M. Jackson , J.D. Roe , R. Wangchuk & D.O. Hunter (2006) Estimating snow leopard population abundance using photography and capture–recapture techniques. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 34, 772781.

J.E. Janečka , B. Munkhtsog , R.M. Jackson , G. Naranbaatar , D.P. Mallon & W.J. Murphy (2011) Comparison of noninvasive genetic and camera-trapping techniques for surveying snow leopards. Journal of Mammalogy, 92, 771783.

K.U. Karanth , A.M. Gopalaswamy , N.S. Kumar , S. Vaidyanathan , J.D. Nichols & D.I. MacKenzie (2011) Monitoring carnivore populations at the landscape scale: occupancy modelling of tigers from sign surveys. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48, 10481056.

D. Lunney , M.S. Crowther , I. Shannon & J.V. Bryant (2009) Combining a map-based public survey with an estimation of site occupancy to determine the recent and changing distribution of the koala in New South Wales. Wildlife Research, 36, 262273.

D.I. MacKenzie , L.L. Bailey & J.D. Nichols (2004) Investigating species co-occurrence patterns when species are detected imperfectly. Journal of Animal Ecology, 73, 546555.

D.I. MacKenzie , J.D. Nichols , J.E. Hines , M.G. Knutson & A.B. Franklin (2003) Estimating site occupancy, colonization, and local extinction when a species is detected imperfectly. Ecology, 84, 22002207.

D.I. MacKenzie , J.D. Nichols , N. Sutton , K. Kawanishi & L.L. Bailey (2005) Improving inferences in population studies of rare species that are detected imperfectly. Ecology, 86, 11011113.

D.I. MacKenzie & J.A. Royle (2005) Designing occupancy studies: general advice and allocating survey effort. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 11051114.

K.P. McCarthy , T.K. Fuller , M. Ming , T.M. McCarthy , L. Waits & K. Jumabaev (2008) Assessing estimators of snow leopard abundance. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 72, 18261833.

R. Pillay , A.J.T. Johnsingh , R. Raghunath & M.D. Madhusudan (2011) Patterns of spatiotemporal change in large mammal distribution and abundance in the southern Western Ghats, India. Biological Conservation, 144, 15671576.

R. Pillay , D.A.W. Miller , J.E. Hines , A.A. Joshi & M.D. Madhusudan (2014) Accounting for false positives improves estimates of occupancy from key informant interviews. Diversity and Distributions, 20, 223235.

W.J. Ripple , A.J. Wirsing , C.C. Wilmers & M. Letnic (2013) Widespread mesopredator effects after wolf extirpation. Biological Conservation, 160, 7079.

J.A. Royle & W.A. Link (2006) Generalized site occupancy models allowing for false positive and false negative errors. Ecology, 87, 835841.

E.W. Ruell , S.P.D. Riley , M.R. Douglas , J.P. Pollinger & K.R. Crooks (2009) Estimating bobcat population sizes and densities in a fragmented urban landscape using noninvasive capture–recapture sampling. Journal of Mammalogy, 90, 129135.

J.M. Sappington , K.M. Longshore & D.B. Thompson (2007) Quantifying landscape ruggedness for animal habitat analysis: a case study using bighorn sheep in the Mojave Desert. TheJournal of Wildlife Management, 71, 14191426.

J.B. Smith , J.A. Jenks & R.W. Klaver (2007) Evaluating detection probabilities for American marten in the Black Hills, South Dakota. TheJournal of Wildlife Management, 71, 24122416.

M.R.E. Symonds & A. Moussalli (2011) A brief guide to model selection, multimodel inference and model averaging in behavioural ecology using Akaike's information criterion. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65, 1321.

C.A. van der Hoeven , W.F. de Boer & H.H.T. Prins (2004) Pooling local expert opinions for estimating mammal densities in tropical rainforests. Journal for Nature Conservation, 12, 193204.

T. Watanabe , S. Izumiyama , L. Gaunavinaka & M. Anarbaev (2010) Wolf depredation on livestock in the Pamir. Geographical Studies, 85, 2636.

P.C.L. White , N.V. Jennings , A.R. Renwick & N.H.L. Barker (2005) Questionnaires in ecology: a review of past use and recommendations for best practice. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 421430.

K.A. Zeller , S. Nijhawan , R. Salom-Pérez , S.H. Potosme & J.E. Hines (2011) Integrating occupancy modeling and interview data for corridor identification: a case study for jaguars in Nicaragua. Biological Conservation, 144, 892901.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Taubmann supplementary material
Taubmann supplementary material 1

 PDF (1.8 MB)
1.8 MB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 60 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 376 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.