The Tomur National Nature Reserve (TNNR) of China is located in the region bordered by Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan with an area of 3000 km2. TNNR is one of the biggest reserves in northwestern China with the endangered snow leopards. However, only a few signs of snow leopards were found here by Dr. Schaller, a famous zoology in 1988. The next year, it was reported that more than 10 snow leopards were illegally killed by local herders based on Schaller’s survey. So, the snow leopard was assumed to have nearly disappeared in this nature reserve.
With the establishment of the nature reserve in Tomur area in 1989, which was upgraded to a national nature reserve in 2003, no-hunting rule was imposed since then.
From October to November 2004 and October to December 2005, the research group of Professors MA Ming and YANG Weikang, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, conducted surveys in four major valleys of the TNNR to ascertain the status and distribution of snow leopards.
Along 69 transects (total distance is 39.7 km), they located 56 sites with 131 signs, and combined with the visiting investigation to 93 herders and the monitoring result from self timer camera with wireless infrared. They confirmed the presence of snow leopards in three regions of the four valleys. Compared with Schaller’s findings (1988), snow leopards are now more and cover much larger area. The survival condition of snow leopards in TNNR has improved since the establishment of the reserve in the later 1980s. However, the conflict between snow leopards and human activities such as over-grazing, tourism and mining still exists in the reserve. The research result has been published on Pakistan Journal of Zoology., vol. 42(6), pp. 825-827, 2010.