1. Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Science, Urumqi 830011, China 2. The Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China 3. International Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle, WA 98107, USA
Habitat selection of Snow Leopard (Unica unica) in Beita Mountain of the Altay Mountain system in northeast Xinjiang was conducted from September to October 2004. Six habitat features of 59 sites used by Snow Leopard and 30 random plots were measured by locating 15 transects surveys in the study area. Vanderploge and Scavia's selectivity index was used to assess Snow Leopard's selection for the different habitat parameters. Principal Component Analysis was used as the primary factor. The results indicated that Snow Leopard preferred the altitude between 2 000-2 200 m and avoided 2 600-3 000 m; selected cliff base, ridgeline and avoided hillside and valley bottom; utilized the shrub and rejected the forest; selected the non-grazing area and avoided the slightly broken region; preferred north orientation and rejected the south orientation. The results show that grazing status, vegetation type, topography and the ruggedness are the primary factors for the habitat selection of Snow Leopard.