National Trust for Nature Conservation


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Murphy S.T.,CABI Europe UK | Subedi N.,Biodiversity Conservation Center | Jnawali S.R.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | Lamichhane B.R.,Biodiversity Conservation Center | And 2 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2013

Abstract As part of a census of the Indian rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis a survey was conducted to measure the extent of invasion by the neotropical plant mikania Mikania micrantha across major habitats of Chitwan National Park important for the conservation of the rhinoceros. Previous work has demonstrated that this fire-adapted plant can smother and kill native flora such as grasses and sapling trees, several of which are important fodder plants of the rhinoceros. Here, additional studies were conducted on the risks of anthropogenic factors (natural resource collection and grassland burning) contributing to the spread and growth of the plant. Mikania is currently found across 44% of habitats sampled and almost 15% of these have a high infestation (> 50% coverage). Highest densities were recorded from riverine forest, tall grass and wetland habitats and this is where the highest numbers of rhinoceroses were recorded in the habitats surveyed during the census. Local community dependence on natural resources in the core area of the Park is high. The range and volume of resources (e.g. fodder) collected and the distances travelled all pose a high risk of the spread of mikania. Of greater significance is the annual burning of the grasslands in the Park by local communities, estimated at 25-50% of the total area. It is imperative, therefore, that core elements of a management plan for mikania incorporate actions to control burning, reduce spread and raise awareness about best practice for local resource management by local communities. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International.

Barber-Meyer S.M.,WWF U.S. | Barber-Meyer S.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Jnawali S.R.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | Khanal P.,WWF Nepal | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2013

Tigers are globally endangered and continue to decline due to poaching, prey depletion and habitat loss. In Nepal, tiger populations are fragmented and found mainly in four protected areas (PAs). To establish the use of standard methods, to assess the importance of prey availability and human disturbance on tiger presence and to assess tiger occupancy both inside and outside PAs, we conducted a tiger occupancy survey throughout the Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal. Our model-average estimate of the probability of tiger site occupancy was 0.366 [standard error (se) = 0.02, a 7% increase from the naive estimate] and the probability of detection estimate was 0.65 (se = 0.08) per 1km searched. Modeled tiger site occupancy ranged from 0.04 (se = 0.05) in areas with a relatively lower prey base and higher human disturbance to 1 (se = 0 and 0.14) in areas with a higher prey base and lower human disturbance. We estimated tigers occupied just 5049 (se = 3) km2 (36%) of 13915km2 potential tiger habitat (forests and grasslands), and we detected sign in four of five key corridors linking PAs across Nepal and India, respectively indicating significant unoccupied areas likely suitable for tigers and substantial potential for tiger dispersal. To increase tiger populations and to promote long-term persistence in Nepal, otherwise suitable areas should be managed to increase prey and minimize human disturbance especially in critical corridors linking core tiger populations. © 2012 The Zoological Society of London.

Subba S.A.,Conservation Science Unit | Shrestha A.K.,Conservation Science Unit | Thapa K.,Conservation Science Unit | Malla S.,Conservation Science Unit | And 5 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2016

The grey wolf Canis lupus lupus is Critically Endangered in Nepal, and is a protected species there. Understanding the species’ status and distribution is critical for its conservation in the Nepalese Himalaya. We assessed the distribution of the grey wolf in the Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan regions using data from faecal and camera trap surveys and published data sources. We recorded 40 instances of wolf presence. Using these data we estimated a distribution of 28,553 km2, which includes potential as well as known habitat and comprises 73% of the Nepalese Himalaya. There is evidence of recovery of the grey wolf population in Kanchenjunga Conservation Area in the eastern portion of the species’ range. A livestock insurance scheme has been shown to be a viable option to reduce retaliatory killing of wolves as a result of livestock depredation. The wolf plays an important ecological role in the Himalaya, and its conservation should not be delayed by the ongoing taxonomic debate about its subspecific status. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2016

Chetri M.,Hedmark University of Applied science | Jhala Y.V.,Wildlife Institute of India | Jnawali S.R.,Kathmandu University | Subedi N.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | And 2 more authors.
ZooKeys | Year: 2016

The taxonomic status of the wolf (Canis lupus) in Nepal’s Trans-Himalaya is poorly understood. Recent genetic studies have revealed the existence of three lineages of wolves in the Indian sub-continent. Of these, the Himalayan wolf, Canis lupus chanco, has been reported to be the most ancient lineage historically distributed within the Nepal Himalaya. These wolves residing in the Trans-Himalayan region have been suggested to be smaller and very different from the European wolf. During October 2011, six fecal samples suspected to have originated from wolves were collected from Upper Mustang in the Annapurna Conservation Area of Nepal. DNA extraction and amplification of the mitochondrial (mt) control region (CR) locus yielded sequences from five out of six samples. One sample matched domestic dog sequences in GenBank, while the remaining four samples were aligned within the monophyletic and ancient Himalayan wolf clade. These four sequences which matched each other, were new and represented a novel Himalayan wolf haplotype. This result confirms that the endangered ancient Himalayan wolf is extant in Nepal. Detailed genomic study covering Nepal’s entire Himalayan landscape is recommended in order to understand their distribution, taxonomy and, genetic relatedness with other wolves potentially sharing the same landscape. © Madhu Chetri et al.

Subedi N.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | Jnawali S.R.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | Dhakal M.,Babarmahal | Pradhan N.M.B.,WWF Nepal | And 4 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2013

Abstract We assessed the abundance and distribution of the greater one-horned or Indian rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis in all its potential habitats in Nepal, using block counts. In April 2011 5,497 km were searched in 3,548 elephant-hours over 23 days. The validity of the block count was assessed by comparing it with counts obtained from long-term monitoring using photographic identification of individual rhinoceroses (ID-based), and estimates obtained by closed population sighting-mark-resighting in the 214 km 2 of Chitwan National Park. A total of 534 rhinoceroses were found during the census, with 503 in Chitwan National Park (density 1 km -2), 24 in Bardia National Park (0.28 km-2) and seven in Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve (0.1 km-2). In Chitwan 66% were adults, 12% subadults and 22% calves, with a female : male ratio of 1.24. The population estimate from sighting-mark-resighting was 72 (95% CI 71-78). The model with different detection probabilities for males and females had better support than the null model. In the Sauraha area of Chitwan estimates of the population obtained by block count (77) and ID-based monitoring (72) were within the 95% confidence interval of the estimate from sighting-mark-resighting. We recommend a country-wide block count for rhinoceroses every 3 years and annual ID-based monitoring in a sighting-mark-resighting framework within selected subpopulations. The sighting-mark-resighting technique provides the statistical rigour required for population estimates of the rhinoceros in Nepal and elsewhere. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International.

Karki J.B.,P.O. Box 860 | Pandav B.,Wildlife Institute of India | Jnawali S.R.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | Shrestha R.,WWF Nepal Programme | And 5 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2015

Information on the abundance of tigers Panthera tigris is essential for effective conservation of the species. The main aim of this study was to determine the status of tigers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, including the Churia hills, using a camera-trap based mark-recapture abundance estimate. Camera traps (n = 310) were placed in an area of 1,261 km2 from 20 January to 22 March 2010. The study area was divided into three blocks and each block was trapped for 19-21 days, with a total effort of 3,582 man-days, 170 elephant-days and 4,793 camera-trap nights. The effectively camera-trapped area was 2,596 km2. Camera stations were located 1.5-2 km apart. Sixty-two tigers (age ≥ 1.5 years), comprising 15 males, 41 females and six of unidentified sex, were identified from 344 photographs. The heterogeneity model Mh (jackknife) was the best fit for the capture history data. A capture probability (P) of 0.05 was obtained, generating a population estimate (N) of 125 ± SE 21.8 tigers. The density of tigers in the area, including Churia and Barandabhar (buffer zone forest linked with mid hill forest), was estimated to be 4.5 ± SE 0.35 tigers per 100 km2, using a Bayesian spatially explicit capture-recapture model in SPACECAP. Our study showed the use of Churia by tigers and we therefore conclude that the Chitwan tiger population serves as a source to maintain tiger occupancy of the larger landscape that comprises Chitwan National Park, Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Barandabhar buffer zone, Someswor forest in Nepal and Valmiki Tiger Reserve in India. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International.

Aryal A.,Massey University | Brunton D.,Massey University | Ji W.,Massey University | Yadav H.K.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | And 2 more authors.
Mammal Study | Year: 2012

Hispid hare Caprolagus hispidus is one of the less studied endangered small mammal species in the world. Hispid hare distribution includes the tropical grassland ecosystem in Nepal. Grassland fire is one of the management regimes used in this region and its impact on biodiversity is controversial. We investigated the diet and habitat use of hispid hare before and after a grassland fire at Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve (SWR) in Nepal. Fecal pellets were used for micro-histological analysis to understand hispid hare diet. We laid out sampling plots in areas where we encountered hispid hare sign and recorded habitat and vegetation information. We also looked for signs of hare presence along systematically positioned transect lines and used these data to assess the population status of hispid hare. Population density of hispid hare was 5.76 individuals/km2 and we estimated a population size of 219 ± 40 hispid hare within the 41 km2 grasslands of SWR. Hispid hare primarily used tall grassland habitat. Nineteen plant species were identified in hispid hare pellets with Saccharum spontaneum and Imperata cylindrica having the highest frequency of occurrence. There were no significant differences in the distribution of plant species in the pellets before and after the fire; however a significantly higher diversity of plants were recorded in hispid hare diet after the fire. We recommend a change to the timing of grass burning to either before or after the hispid hare breeding season to reduce the direct (burning, destruction of nests) and indirect (increased risk of predation) negative effects of such grassland management on hare populations. Population management strategies and a field based conservation captive breeding program should be implemented immediately to maintain a viable population of hispid hare in SWR. © The Mammal Society of Japan.

Subedi A.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | Aryal A.,Massey University | Koirala R.K.,Massey University | Koirala R.K.,Tribhuvan University | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Zoological Research | Year: 2012

The Himalayan musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster) is an endangered species found in the Himalayan region of Nepal. This research was conducted in the Manaslu Conservation Area to explore the deer's general population status, distribution, habitat preference and conservation threats. Musk deer are distributed within the altitudinal range of 3128-4039 m spanning 35.43 km2, with the most potential habitat in the Prok VDC (Village Development Committee). Within this area the Musk deer highly preferred altitudes between 3601-3800 m, with a 21-30° slope, 26-50% crown cover and 26-50% ground cover. There are significant differences in the use of different habitat types in terms of altitude, slope, crown cover, ground cover and topography. The preferred tree species were Abies spectabilis, Betula utilis and Rhododendron species. Poaching of deer for their musk is the major conservation threat. © 2012 Academic Journals Inc.

Fattorini N.,University of Siena | Pokheral C.P.,National Trust for Nature Conservation | Pokheral C.P.,University of Ferrara
Ethology Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2012

Camera trapping has been used to assess the temporal activity patterns and the habitat selection of the Indian crested porcupine, Hystrix indica Kerr 1792, in the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve (in Western Nepal). Data have been collected during two winter sessions (December 2008-April 2009, November 2009-January 2010). The effective sampling area is approximately 250 km 2. A total of 319 photos of porcupine were recorded during the periods. Porcupines were significantly more active in the central part of the night (from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.) than in crepuscular and daylight periods. The analysis of the habitat selection (forests and grasslands), when significant, has shown that porcupines prefer grassland. This selection may depend on the distribution of food resources or on the presence of large forest predators (e.g. the leopard Panthera pardus). © 2012 Copyright 2012 Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica dell'Università, Firenze, Italia.

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