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Habitat requirements of the Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and threat analysis in Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan

Dendup, Pema, Humle, Tatyana, Bista, Damber, Penjor, Ugyen, Lham, Choki, Gyeltshen, Jigme (2020) Habitat requirements of the Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and threat analysis in Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan. Ecology and Evolution, . ISSN 2045-7758. (doi:10.1002/ece3.6632) (KAR id:82182)

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Abstract

Understanding the influence of anthropogenic disturbances on species’ habitat use and distribution is critical to conservation managers in planning effective conservation strategies and mitigating the impact of development. Few studies have focused on the Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) in Bhutan. This study aimed to assess the habitat requirements and threats to this endangered species in the Khamaed sub-district of the Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan. We employed a transect walk and plot-sampling survey design across two seasons, i.e. winter and spring. In total, we surveyed 84 x 50 m radius circular plots along 51 km of existing trails within a 25.4 km2 study area. At 500 m intervals, we established plots at random distances and direction from the trail. We recorded direct sightings (n = 2) and indirect signs (n = 14), such as droppings and footprints as evidence of red panda presence within an altitudinal range of 2,414 – 3,618 m. We also noted 21 tree and 12 understory species within plots with red panda evidence; the dominant tree species was the Himalayan hemlock (Tsuga dumosa) and the Asian barberry (Berberis asiatica) as an understory species. Red panda presence showed a significant positive association with distance to water sources and fir forests. Plant disturbance and infrastructure, such as power transmission lines, were identified as prominent anthropogenic threats in the study area. Based on our findings, we recommend the development and implementation of local forest management plans, livestock intensification programs and strict application of environmental impact assessment regulations to promote the conservation of the red panda in the region.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ece3.6632
Uncontrolled keywords: anthropogenic activities, Environment Impact Assessment, habitat disturbances, habitat use, red panda, water source
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Tatyana Humle
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2020 15:27 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2020 15:08 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/82182 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Humle, Tatyana: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1919-631X
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