Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal

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Ahmad Zafir A.W.,WWF Malaysia | Ahmad Zafir A.W.,Universiti Sains Malaysia | Payne J.,WWF Malaysia | Payne J.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | And 8 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2011

In 1994 Alan Rabinowitz decried what he regarded as lackadaisical attempts by governments, NGOs and international funding agencies to conserve the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. Sixteen years on it is timely to evaluate whether his warnings were heeded. We review the current conservation status of D. sumatrensis throughout its range and the latest threats and challenges complicating efforts to conserve this species. Recent data from governments, NGOs and researchers indicate that the global population could be as low as 216, a decline from c. 320 estimated in 1995. Based on lessons learnt and expert opinions we call on decision makers to focus on two core strategies for conservation of D. sumatrensis: (1) the translocation of wild individuals from existing small, isolated or threatened forest patches into semi-in situ captive breeding programmes, and (2) a concomitant enhancement of protection and monitoring capacities in priority areas that have established these breeding facilities or have recorded relatively high population estimates and track encounter rates. At least USD 1.2 million is required to implement these strategies annually in four priority areas: Bukit Barisan Selatan and Way Kambas National Parks on Sumatra, and Danum Valley Conservation Area and Tabin Wildlife Reserve on Sabah. Given that conservation funds are rarely secure and D. sumatrensis is still in decline we call on potential donors to help secure and augment existing capacities of organizations in these four priority areas before committing resources to elucidate the status of the species in other areas such as Gunung Leuser and Taman Negara National Parks. © 2011 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.


Flagstad O.,Norwegian Institute for Nature Research | Pradhan N.M.B.,WWF Nepal | Kvernstuen L.G.,University of Oslo | Wegge P.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Journal for Nature Conservation | Year: 2012

The Terai is one of the world's most spectacular landscapes, encompassing parts of Nepal and northern India. This area used to harbour large and continuous populations of charismatic species like elephants, tigers and rhinoceros. However, recent habitat fragmentation reduced these populations into small, partially or completely isolated remnants. The largest of these fragments in Nepal is the Bardia National Park. Here, the elephant population was functionally extinct in the early 1970s and -80s, but was rescued by a considerable number of immigrants in 1994. In order to assess population size, sex ratio, age structure, and levels of genetic variation, we carried out non-invasive genetic sampling, using elephant dung as the source of DNA. A capture-mark-recapture estimate of population size suggested that there were 57 individuals in the study area, which agrees well with field observations. Notably, a strongly male-biased sex ratio was evident among sub-adult individuals. This observation suggests the presence of sub-adult immigrants in the population, which was supported by formal migrant detection analysis. Genetic variation was quite high and the evidence for male immigrants suggests that there are good prospects for maintenance of genetic diversity. A decade ago a large-scale project was initiated in the Terai region to link remaining populations of large mammals through dispersal corridors. The program is basically founded on the assumption that habitat fragments are isolated with little or no migration between them. Our results indicate that this may not be the case, at least not for the Asian elephant in western Nepal, which therefore reduces the alleged extinction risk from genetic erosion and stochastic demographic events. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.


van Oort B.,CICERO Center for International Climate and Environmental Research | Bhatta L.D.,International Center for Integrated Mountain Development | Baral H.,Center for International Forestry Research | Dhakal M.,International Center for Integrated Mountain Development | And 2 more authors.
Ecosystem Services | Year: 2015

Human activities and climate change are key factors impacting ecosystem functions and its goods and services, which are important to the livelihoods of mountain communities. In Nepal, community based ecosystem management has been widely adopted as a way to secure local management and empowerment, but local knowledge, perceptions and values of ecosystem change and services are often ignored, and perhaps inadequately understood, in decision-making processes at district or national level. Our objective therefore was to develop a multi-method approach to support mapping of ecosystem services and assessing their local values. Local perceptions of ecosystem use, change and values were identified using participatory mapping, key informant and focus group discussions, and an extensive household survey carried out in the upstream Koshi River basin. Results were cross-validated with scientific literature, statistics and remote sensing data. Key ecosystem services identified are water, agricultural produce, and various forest products, most of which show a declining trend. We demonstrate that the use of different methods and levels of input results in different and complementary types of insights and detail needed for balanced and informed decision-making regarding sustainable management of ESs to secure current and future livelihoods and ecosystem functioning. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


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.


Forrest J.L.,Conservation Science Program | Wikramanayake E.,Conservation Science Program | Shrestha R.,WWF Nepal | Areendran G.,WWF India | And 6 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

Climate change is likely to affect the persistence of large, space-requiring species through habitat shifts, loss, and fragmentation. Anthropogenic land and resource use changes related to climate change can also impact the survival of wildlife. Thus, climate change has to be integrated into biodiversity conservation plans. We developed a hybrid approach to climate-adaptive conservation landscape planning for snow leopards in the Himalayan Mountains. We first mapped current snow leopard habitat using a mechanistic approach that incorporated field-based data, and then combined it with a climate impact model using a correlative approach. For the latter, we used statistical methods to test hypotheses about climatic drivers of treeline in the Himalaya and its potential response to climate change under three IPCC greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. We then assessed how change in treeline might affect the distribution of snow leopard habitat. Results indicate that about 30% of snow leopard habitat in the Himalaya may be lost due to a shifting treeline and consequent shrinking of the alpine zone, mostly along the southern edge of the range and in river valleys. But, a considerable amount of snow leopard habitat and linkages are likely to remain resilient to climate change, and these should be secured. This is because, as the area of snow leopard habitat fragments and shrinks, threats such as livestock grazing, retaliatory killing, and medicinal plant collection can intensify. We propose this approach for landscape conservation planning for other species with extensive spatial requirements that can also be umbrella species for overall biodiversity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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