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Spatial differences in prey preference by tigers across the Bangladesh Sundarbans reveal a need for customised strategies to protect prey populations

Aziz, M. Abdul, Islam, M. Anwarul, Groombridge, Jim J. (2020) Spatial differences in prey preference by tigers across the Bangladesh Sundarbans reveal a need for customised strategies to protect prey populations. Endangered Species Research, 43 . pp. 65-73. ISSN 1863-5407. (doi:10.3354/esr01052) (KAR id:84731)

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https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01052

Abstract

The Sundarbans is the only mangrove habitat in the world to support tigers Panthera tigris, whose persistence there is believed to be dependent on a very limited number of prey species. Conservation managers therefore need to understand how tigers utilise available prey species on a spatial scale in order to formulate a prey-based protection strategy for this global-priority tiger landscape. A total of 512 scat samples were collected during a survey of 1984 km2 of forest across 4 sample blocks in the 6017 km2 of the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Analysis of scat composition and prey remains reliably identified 5 major prey species, of which spotted deer Axis axis and wild pig Sus scrofa contributed a cumulative biomass of 89% to tiger diet. Tiger preference for prey species was highly skewed towards spotted deer and wild pig, but the relative contribution of these 2 species differed significantly across the 4 study areas, which spanned the Sundarbans, demonstrating important spatial patterns of tiger prey preference across the Sundarbans landscape. Given the comparatively limited number of prey species available to support the dwindling tiger population, different strategies are needed in different parts of the Sundarbans to support tiger populations and to protect spotted deer and wild pig populations from unabated poaching.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3354/esr01052
Uncontrolled keywords: Bangladesh, Mangrove, Panthera tigris, Tiger prey preference, Scat, Sundarbans, Spotted deer
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Jim Groombridge
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2020 17:06 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:17 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/84731 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Groombridge, Jim J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6941-8187
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