Tara Meyer, MESc

2014 TRI Fellow in Tajikistan

A first look at an unstudied population: estimating snow leopard (Panthera uncia) density and distribution in the Hissar mountain range, Tajikistan

I led a camera-based study of snow leopards in the Hissar Mountain Range in western Tajikistan. My team and I placed 40 motion sensored camera traps in high-altitude areas we hypothesized to be good snow leopard habitat. This included ridgelines, ledges, and mountain passes above 3000m where we found signs (tracks, scat, scrapes, etc) of either snow leopard and/or their main prey in the area -- ibex.

In addition to the camera surveys, we collected snow leopard scat samples, which will be used to conduct DNA analyses of the current population. We also conducted key informant interviews with local hunters and other experts, and administered a community survey about human-wildlife conflicts.