Scat (circled) next to a fresh snow leopard scrape. (Photo: Jan Janečka)
This technique is efficient and cost-effective. Researchers collect scats known or suspected to have been deposited by snow leopards. These are taken to a qualified laboratory, the mitochondrial DNA extracted, sequenced and interpreted.
For a discussion of genotyping in greater detail, see this page.
- Easy-to-conduct field surveys allowing for large areas to be surveyed in significantly less time than it takes to camera-trap snow leopards
- Generates detailed information on actual number of snow leopards, their gender, maternally inherited relatedness, movement patterns, and other aspects of population structure
- Genetic material deteriorates with age; fresh scats yield the best results
- Requires special laboratory facilities adhering to rigorous standards, and well-trained personnel
- Results are not available while in the field