Yanlin Liu
Author: Judy Wang
2022

Yanlin Liu

Wildlife Conservationist

Tracking snow leopards

meet yanlin

Yanlin Liu was born and raised in the Southern China Coast and has had a passion for the Tibetan Plateau since 1999. He participated in five mountaineering expeditions there as an undergraduate at Peking University. Between 2003 and 2011, he studied wild ungulates in Chang Tang, Tibet, for his PhD. After graduation, he joined Shanshui Conservation Center as Director of the Snow Leopard Project at the source region of the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong rivers. In 2015, he joined the Chinese Academy of forest surveying snow leopard for Qilianshan National Park. Since 2019, he has been working for China Felid Conservation Alliance (CFCA) as Director of Science Coordinating Projects across China on the leopard, snow leopard, Chinese mountain cat, lynx and Pallas’s cat.

Tracking snow leopards
Nominated by: Kyle Obermann MI'20
Class of 2022 Location China
Author: Judy Wang

While serving in organizations during the last decade, I organize and support snow leopard surveys in different regions across western China. These surveys provide basic information on snow leopard populations for governmental agencies or local conservation non-profit organizations. In Qilianshan National Park, the administration established a patrolling and monitoring system based in part on my suggestions. At the headwater of the Yellow River, I helped Plateau Nature Conservancy to implement a community-based camera trapping survey of snow leopards, which promoted sacred conservation.

By collaborating with Peking University, I hope to initiate a long-term ecology research project in Qilianshan National Park on the snow leopard and other carnivores, including the wolf, brown bear, lynx, dholes. The carnivore project would reveal their needs to co-exist with local herders. As a starting point, one snow leopard was captured and collared by our team in December 2021.

“I believe that reuniting the deep linkage between us and nature is crucial for responding to fast-changing polar regions.”

- Yanlin Liu
Author: Judy Wang

I helped CFCA to develop the project, Bring Leopard Home in 2017, and joined them in 2019 as director of science. The North China leopard is a unique leopard subspecies endemic in China, and only isolated small populations persist in the remaining 2% historical range. CFCA has been monitoring and protecting a leopard population of over 30 individuals in central Taihang Mountains for ten years. They have successfully secured this population. The project aims to recover leopards along northern Taihang through natural dispersal and eventually to reestablish a leopard population in Beijing, where its type specimen was collected in the late 19th century.

For the future, we hope to involve more stakeholders to advance the goal of recovering large carnivores in populated northern China.

Author: Judy Wang

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