Research on snow leopards (Panthera uncia) using camera-trapping in Wolong National Nature Reserve, China

TANG Zhuo, male, mainly engaged in the study of wild animals, E-mail: 1,2 YANG Jian 2 LIU Xuehua1 WANG Pengyan 2 LI Zhouyuan 1

(1.School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084)
(2.Administration Bureau of Wolong National Nature Reserve, Wenchuan, Sichuan 623006)

【Abstract】Between November 2013 and March 2016, twenty Ltl-6210 MC infrared-triggered camera-traps were installed in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China, to monitor snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and other wildlife. A total of 7,056 camera-days of data were collected, including approximately 120,000 photos and video clips. The effective number of snow leopard samples collected by the infrared cameras was 43, and the calculated relative abundance index (RAI) for this species was 6.09. During the 28 months of continuous data collection using infrared cameras, records of snow leopards, including leopard cubs, demonstrated that Wolong National Nature Reserve was a relatively hospitable environment for this species. The analytical results indicated that the annual activity peaked in January, and the daily activity peaked in 18:00–20:00 and showed seasonal variations. When considering environmental factors, the preferred habitat was the alpine scree where snow leopards appeared most in the ridge areas and the range of preferred reference temperatures for snow leopard activity was found between −10 °C and −3 °C. In addition, the lunar phase activity intensity index was originally created to assess the appearance of wildlife under different night lightness levels. It showed that the snow leopard was fairly active at night, and lunar phase had a significant impact on its level of nocturnal activity (P < 0.01). We provided primary sources for further protection and research of snow leopards and the other wildlife. This study could be utilized to comprehensively learn the ecological characteristics and assess snow leopard habitat.

【Keywords】 snow leopard; infrared camera; Wolong National Nature Reserve; activity rhythm; habitat selection; lunar phase;


【Funds】 Fund for Continuous Cooperation on Wolong National Nature Reserve Between Sichuan and Hong Kong

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This Article


CN: 11-3247/Q

Vol 25, No. 01, Pages 62-70

January 2017


Article Outline


  • 1 Study area and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • Supplementary Material
  • Footnote