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Journal of Arid Land  2012, Vol. 4 Issue (2): 191-195    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2012.00191
Research Articles     
Winter habitat use of snow leopards in Tomur National Nature Reserve of Xinjiang, Northwest China
Feng XU1, Ming MA1, WeiKang YANG1, David BLANK1, YiQun WU2, Thomas MCCARTHY3, Bariusha MUNKHTSOG4
1 Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China;
2 Department of Environment and Life Sciences, Weinan Teachers University, Weinan 714000, China;
3 International Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle WA 98103, USA;
4 Institute of Biology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar 51, BZD, Mongolia
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Abstract  Snow leopards are one of the least known large cats, the population of which has dramatically de-creased. Their habitat loss was considered the main reason for the decline during the last decade, but their habitat preferences are still not well known. In this paper, we studied the winter habitat preferences of snow leopards in the Tomur National Nature Reserve (TNNR) in Northwest China during 2004–2005. We used sign surveys and transects to study the winter habitat selection of snow leopards. The results indicated that snow leopards showed a preference for habitat variabilities in slope aspect, vegetation cover, dominant topographical features, landform ruggedness and grazing status. We found that prey availability and dominant topographical features were the most important factors that determined the winter habitat selection of snow leopards. Our results supported the idea that the habitat preferences of snow leopards are a tradeoff between suitable habitat features and avoidance of potential human interactions.

Key wordsdew      Bassia dasyphylla      water status      photosynthesis performance      biomass allocation pattern     
Received: 15 September 2011      Published: 06 June 2012

The Science Supporting Project of the National Ministry of Science and Technology (2008BA C39B04), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30470262 and 30970340), the International Science and Tech-nology Cooperation Program of China (2010DFA92720) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professorships for Senior International Scientists (2009Z2-5).

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Feng XU, Ming MA, WeiKang YANG, David BLANK, YiQun WU, Thomas MCCARTHY, Bariusha MUNKHTSOG. Winter habitat use of snow leopards in Tomur National Nature Reserve of Xinjiang, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(2): 191-195.

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