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, Koustubh Sharma, Kubanychbek Zhumabai Uulu, James E. Hines, Charudutt Mishra
2015 Oryx  
AbstractThe Endangered snow leopardPanthera unciaoccurs 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 km2of the Kyrgyz Alay. We interviewed 95
more » ... key informants from local communities. Across 49 400-km2grid 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 bearUrsus arctos(84% of sites) and Marco Polo sheepOvis ammon polii(47% of sites), mainly in regions used intensively by people. Data indicated a high probability of local colonization by lynxLynx lynxin 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.
doi:10.1017/s0030605315000502 fatcat:l4xsei3f4zb6bjysbdptz7zbgi