Conservation – Photo Survey

snow leopard investigating a scent-sprayed rock

Camera hidden in cairn (indicated by red circle)

Survey Methods: An Overview

Camera-trapping

Infrared motion-sensing cameras are strategically deployed along travel routes used by snow leopards occupying the survey area. The digital images or analog photographs taken of a passing cat are analyzed and the number of individual snow leopards determined from their unique pelage spot patterns or “fingerprinting.”

For a discussion about camera trapping in greater detail, see this page.

Advantages:
  • Generally non-invasive
  • Provides direct counts of the snow leopards visiting and triggering the one or two camera traps placed at each site
  • Allows for statistically valid population estimates
  • allows for reliable monitoring of resident snow leopards over time
Disadvantages:
  • Equipment is costly and quickly outdated by new models
  • Camera traps are vulnerable to theft or damage
  • Setting up a proper camera-trap survey is labor- and time-intensive
  • Requires special expertise