Food resource evaluation for snow leopards, China

Lingyun Xiao

Maintaining a healthy natural prey population is critical for large carnivore conservation. Blue sheep is the main prey of the endangered snow leopard in Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve of China, which has been degraded by livestock grazing. However, no information on their population status is currently available. This study aims to assess blue sheep population status and the impact of resource limitation on it. Density and recruitment success of blue sheep will be measured at eight sites representing the gradient of grazing pressure in the Sanjiangyuan area. Community-based blue sheep monitoring projects will also be started to involve local people in snow leopard conservation. The impact of resource limitation will be identified and protocols for community-based monitoring will be developed. The results will be applicable to managing livestock in such a way that allows snow leopard to survive in the area.