Current Zoology(formerly Acta Zoologica Sinica), Aug. 2006, 52(4): 788 - 793
Camera trapping of snow leopards for the photo capture rate and population size in the Muzat Valley of Tianshan Mountains
MA Ming, XU Feng, R. CHUNDAWAT, Kubanych JUMABAY, WU Yi-Qun, Aizezi, ZHU Ma-Hong
X i n j i a n g I n s t i t u t e o f E c o l o g y a n d G e o g r a p h y , C h i n e s e A c a d e m y o f S c i e n c e s , U r u m q i , C h i n a
The main purpose of this work was to study the use of infrared trapping cameras to estimate snow leopard Uncia uncia population size in a specific study area. This is the first time a study of this nature has taken place in China. During 71 days of field work, a total of 36 cameras were set up in five different small vales of the Muzat Valley adjacent to the Tomur Nature Reserve in Xinjiang Province, E80º35'~81º00' and N42º00'~42º10', elevation 2 300~3 000 m, from 18th October to 27th December 2005. We expended approximately 2094 trap days and nights total (c. 50 256 hours). At least 32 pictures of snow leopards, 22 pictures of other wild species (e. g. Chukor, Wild Pig, Ibex, Red Fox, Cape Hare) and 72 pictures of livestock were taken by the passive CamTrakker (CT) trail monitor in about 16 points of the Muzat Valley. The movement distance of snow leopard was 3-10 km/day. And the capture rate or photographic rate of snow leopard was 1.53 %. Meanwhile, 20 transects were run and 31 feces sample were collected. According to 32 photos, photographic rate and sign survey after snowing on the spot, there were about 5-8 individuals of snow leopards in the research area, and the minimum density of snow leopard in Muzat Valley was 2.0~3.2 individuals / 100 km2. We also observed the behavior of ibex for 77.3 hours, and found about 20 groups and a total of approximately 264 ibexes in the research area[Acta Zoologica Sinica 52(4): 788–793, 2006].