Protect Snow Leopards
The ghost cat of the mountains is one of hardest endangered species to study. Kashmir Robotics' application of deep learning and computer vision will enhance the efficiency and reliability to interpreting images from camera traps, integration of robotics including aerial robotics will expand coverage and provide persistent imagery of snow leopards.
Snow leopards are notoriously hard to study because of their rare and elusive nature and difficult mountainous terrain thus information on their population and other ecological parameters is very limited. In this study, we plan to develop a new and cutting-edge monitoring program based on advanced technology of drones and artificial intelligence. This will allow us to monitor and understand the movement of snow leopards and their prey in areas representative of their overall distribution across the himalayan range in 12 countries. Knowledge on spatial structure of the population is relevant to understanding movement of animals at landscape level, population connectivity, and metapopulations operating on a broader landscape level. Such information is required for landscape level management of species, as desired under the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP). The proposed project aims to to develop technology for the conservation of snow leopards and their habitat. The technology development includes designing drones well suited for the snow leopard terrain and AI to collect, manage and analyse field data. Train a cadre of researchers, students and practitioners in state-of-the art technology developed for monitoring snow leopards and prey species. We anticipate training in cutting-edge techniques will enhance the effectiveness of the ecological monitoring of mountain biodiversity and ecological research capacity more broadly. Ultimately, this project will be the foundations for garnering a better understanding of the ecology and dynamics of snow leopards that will shape socio-ecological conservation strategies in the 20 key snow leopard landscapes identified across their range by GSLEP (Zakharenka et al. 2016). Moreover, an efficient monitoring system will generate important landscape level information that is currently lacking on for snow leopards and the mountain communities their range encompasses, which will in turn improve conservation decision-making processes within and across political boundaries.
Snow leopards live across a vast area of northern and central Asia, including the Himalayan Mountains. It is estimated that there are 3,500 to 4,500 snow leopards living in the mountains of central Asia.
In the Himalayas, snow leopards live in high alpine areas, mostly above the tree line and up to 18,000 feet in elevation.
They are found in 12 countries—including Kashmir, China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia.