TRAIL CAMERAS

 
Two cubs walking past camera trap

Snow leopard cubs in Ladakh walk past hidden camera trap visible on left side of picture.  (photo: SLC)

 

Trail cameras are strategically deployed along travel routes used by snow leopards occupying the survey area. The digital images of passing cats are analyzed and the number of individual snow leopards  is 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 visiting snow leopards
  • Allows for statistically valid population estimates and reliable monitoring of resident snow leopards over time

Disadvantages:

  • Equipment is costly and quickly outdated by new models
  • Cameras are vulnerable to theft or damage
  • Requires special expertise and is labor- and time-intensive to set up a proper trail-cam survey