|Town/Region||Pakke Tiger Reserve|
|Categories||Biodiversity, Carnivores, Mammals|
|Date||18 Sep 2018|
Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) is nestled within the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot, and spans an area of 862 km2 in western Arunachal Pradesh (AP). PTR, established as a tiger reserve in 2002, is a model for other protected areas in Northeast India and has won national acclaim for its biodiversity conservation program.
PTR is known for its carnivore diversity. It is home to threatened carnivores like the tiger, leopard, wild dog leopard cat, jungle cat, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, marbled cat and Asian golden cat Many of these species are data-deficient and little is known about their distribution and habitat use patterns, interspecific interactions, and threats to their persistence in PTR or elsewhere in the world. PTR is surrounded by community-owned forests and human habitations; thus, hunting and other human activities is highly likely to impact the wildlife, and there also is potential for human– carnivore conflict. Other threats to carnivores include forest conversion due to infrastructural development, industrial development, and agriculture. These challenges add to the risk faced by extant carnivore populations in PTR.
Ecological research of carnivores in India has progressed rapidly. However, we still lack baseline data about the distribution of understudied carnivores. Our research will employ non-invasive sampling technique and advanced statistical methods to rigorously quantify their distribution and habitat-use patterns, interspecific interactions, and ecological and anthropogenic factors influencing these pattern. Specifically, this project will contribute to carnivore conservation through following outcomes:
1) Distribution maps: Probabilistic distribution maps for each carnivore species will be developed which will allow PTR Forest Department to allocate scarce conservation resources efficiently. These maps will help to identify habitat-types associated with high carnivore occupancy and to quantify the influence of human disturbance on carnivore distribution and habitat use.
2) Estimates of interspecific interactions: These estimates will be useful in understanding underlying mechanism behind organization of carnivore community and their role in ecosystem function including prey regulation.
3) Training of the forest staff in advanced wildlife monitoring tool: We will train PTR forest rangers in advanced data collection techniques using smart phones and open access user-friendly software (CyberTracker). These techniques save cost and effort considerably and data thus collected can be easily imported to web based databases.
4) Conservation awareness: We will disseminate information about ecology and threats to carnivores of PTR to village’s communities around PTR using creative posters.
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