NEW CLASSIFICATION: Snow leopards have been taken off the endangered species list.
NEW CLASSIFICATION: Snow leopards have been taken off the endangered species list. Richard Vogel

How is Gladstone involved in saving snow leopards

SNOW leopards are endemic to central and south Asia, yet one of the world's experts lives in Gladstone.

CQUniversity Gladstone Associate Vice-Chancellor Owen Nevin had reason to celebrate last month when the animal was taken off the endangered species list.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature now lists snow leopards as "vulnerable”.

However, Prof Nevin said the reclassification did not mean there was no danger to the animal.

"It's a bit of a mixed message, because obviously snow leopards are not out of the woods,” he said.

"What we have is a situation where there was a large part of their range that was considered data deficient ... and the conservative approach is, if you don't know, go to a higher classification.

"What the change in status really represents is an increase in our knowledge rather than an increase in snow leopards.”

Professor Owen Nevin.
Professor Owen Nevin. Mike Richards GLA161216CQU

Prof Nevin has done many field trips to Asia studying the large cat.

"The work I've done with them has been on the edge of their range in Kazakhstan,” he said.

"We've been trialling some new techniques in terms of using camera trapping to do rapid assessments of populations within the area.”

The head of Gladstone CQUniversity has been working with large carnivores for more than 20 years.

A lot of Prof Nevin's work has been focused on bears.

On his first trip to Kazakhstan he worked with brown bears. While there he discovered there were snow leopards within the reserve.

"So from that we realised there was an opportunity to try and develop some techniques that allowed the population to be monitored without the more resource- intensive monitoring techniques that have been used in the past,” Prof Nevin said.

"I got into the snow leopard work, really through applying techniques that we've used with bears over many years in northern America and Europe.”

Prof Nevin said his work within the conservation sector was driven by a desire to see change and protection for animals throughout the world.