Dr. Kulbhushansingh (“Kullu”) Suryawanshi, Senior Scientist and India Program Director for the Snow Leopard Trust, explains how much of a bias there is in existing population studies, and why it matters for the future of this endangered cat.
Existing snow leopard population assessment studies tend to be conducted in the best habitats and cover areas that are too small to be representative of larger landscapes. This leads to inflated population estimates.
Around 60% of the world’s snow leopard habitat are in China. Yet, in China as in other countries, robust population estimates to guide snow leopard conservation efforts remain scarce. But there are efforts underway to change that – most recently through two workshops on survey and analysis methods held in Beijing.
Our team in India is embarking on an ambitious project along with the Forest Department of Himachal Pradesh: Estimating the total snow leopard population of this mountainous Indian state.