|Town/Region||Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary|
|Date||17 Feb 2014|
Mammalian small carnivores play important roles in forests (control and regulation of prey populations, seed dispersal, with consequent effects throughout the ecosystem), but have received little conservation or research attention in tropical Asia. This is especially critical since several species are at severe risk from human activities such as hunting, habitat loss, fragmentation and prey depletion. To address these problems, a sound understanding of species’ biology is essential, to allow assessments of conservation status, threats currently limiting populations and mechanisms by which those threats operate.
This will help predict and understand patterns of persistence/local extinctions, and allow science-based monitoring and conservation interventions that address the causes of population declines most effectively. The proposed project will investigate the biology and ecology of poorly understood small carnivores endemic to the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot (Nilgiri marten, brown mongoose and stripe-necked mongoose). Anecdotal reports provide the little we know about these species (broad-scale occurrence, some natural history observations). Relying mainly on radio-telemetry, the project will investigate aspects of species’ biology such as determinants of home ranges and movement patterns, behaviour, activity patterns, diet, social organisation and space use. The project will also study the interaction of a key human impact (hunting, prey depletion, habitat loss or fragmentation) with these aspects and examine consequences for species’ persistence.
The project will lead to a substantial building of local capacity, increased awareness of small carnivores and the need to conserve them, and continued engagement with the forest department and local communities towards site-based conservation.
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