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Chakraborty R.,WWF India Western Arunachal Landscape Programme | Nahmo L.T.,WWF India Western Arunachal Landscape Programme | Dutta P.K.,WWF India Western Arunachal Landscape Programme | Srivastava T.,National Center for Biological science | And 2 more authors.
Mammalia | Year: 2015

The present study looked at the presence and distribution of red pandas in Pangchen Valley, Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh, including parts of two Community Conserved Areas, based on the field studies carried out between 2009 and 2013. Priority areas were identified by conducting village interviews, followed by field surveys documenting presence-absence of red pandas (based on direct sightings, droppings, and feeding signs) and assessing their habitat status. A total of 183 plots were sampled, of which 74 (40.4%) showed red panda presence. The results show a healthy abundance of red pandas throughout the higher areas of the valley (sign encounter rate, 0.63/h) and their preference for areas above 2800 m elevation with dense bamboo cover of Arundinaria sp. and dominant trees such as Rhododendron sp. and Sorbus sp. with less understory. Their habitat extended till the higher mixed conifer forests dominated by Abies sp. Signs of recent human disturbance were minimal in the sampling areas, which reflected the strong conservation measures implemented by the local communities. Overall, Pangchen Valley was found to be extremely vital for the long-term conservation of the red pandas in the region and continued collaborative measures with the local community are required to safeguard their future. © 2015 by De Gruyter 2015. Source

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