FECAL GENOTYPING

 

 snowl leopard scat

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.

Advantages:

  • Non-invasive
  • 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

Disadvantages:

  • 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