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Feasibility of reintroducing grassland megaherbivores, the greater one-horned rhinoceros, and swamp buffalo within their historic global range

Jhala, Harshini Y., Qureshi, Qamar, Jhala, Yadvendradev V., Black, Simon A. (2021) Feasibility of reintroducing grassland megaherbivores, the greater one-horned rhinoceros, and swamp buffalo within their historic global range. Scientific Reports, 11 (1). Article Number 4469 2021. ISSN 2045-2322. (doi:10.1038/s41598-021-83174-4) (KAR id:86962)

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https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83174-4

Abstract

Reintroduction of endangered species is an effective and increasingly important conservation strategy once threats have been addressed. The greater one-horned rhinoceros and swamp buffalo have declined through historic hunting and habitat loss. We identify and evaluate available habitat across their historic range (India, Nepal, and Bhutan) for reintroducing viable populations. We used Species Distribution Models in Maxent to identify potential habitats and evaluated model-identified sites through field visits, interviews of wildlife managers, literature, and population-habitat viability analysis. We prioritize sites based on size, quality, protection, management effectiveness, biotic pressures, and potential of conflict with communities. Our results suggest that populations greater than 50 for rhinoceros and 100 for buffalo were less susceptible to extinction, and could withstand some poaching, especially if supplemented or managed as a metapopulation. We note some reluctance by managers to reintroduce rhinoceros due to high costs associated with subsequent protection. Our analysis subsequently prioritised Corbett and Valmiki, for rhino reintroduction and transboundary complexes of Chitwan-Parsa-Valmiki and Dudhwa-Pilibhit-Shuklaphanta-Bardia for buffalo reintroductions. Establishing new safety-nets and supplementing existing populations of these megaherbivores would ensure their continued survival and harness their beneficial effect on ecosystems and conspecifics like pygmy hog, hispid hare, swamp deer, hog deer, and Bengal florican.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/s41598-021-83174-4
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Simon Black
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 12:30 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2021 12:35 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/86962 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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