Conservation – Cat Sign

Rodney Jackson collects scat in the field

Rodney Jackson collects scat near scented rock

Survey Methods: An Overview

Sign transects and SLIMS

Biologists count the sign left along the cat’s travel routes. Fortunately snow leopards tend to leave relatively abundant sign as they move about their home ranges. But you need to know where to look!

Advantages:
  • Non-invasive
  • Rapid
  • Relatively simple to apply following basic training
  • Widely used by field personnel ranging from park rangers to research biologists
  • Does not require special equipment
  • Results available immediately in the field
  • Best applied to presence/absence surveys
Disadvantages:
  • Sign is damaged or destroyed by rainfall and trampling by livestock
  • In winter sign may be covered by new snowfall, and is thus short-lived
  • It is difficult to convert sign abundance to number of snow leopards for reasons that are discussed in this pdf file.