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Not a cakewalk: Insights into movement of large carnivores in human dominated landscapes in India
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  • Bilal Habib,
  • Pallavi Ghaskadbi,
  • Shaheer Khan,
  • Zehidul Hussain,
  • Parag Nigam
Bilal Habib
Wildlife Institute of India
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Pallavi Ghaskadbi
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Shaheer Khan
Wildlife Institute of India
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Zehidul Hussain
Wildlife Institute of India
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Parag Nigam
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Abstract

1.Large carnivore conservation is complex and remains a massive challenge across the world. Owing to their wide-ranging habits, large carnivores encounter various anthropogenic pressures which may potentially lead to conflict. Animal movement is linked with individual fitness as it is important for various biological processes. Therefore, studying how large carnivores adapt their movement to dynamic landscape conditions is vital for management and conservation policy. 2.We first quantified the movement parameters of four large carnivores in and outside protected-areas in India (tiger, leopard, dhole and wolf). We then tested the effects of human pressures like human density, road density and land use types on the movement of the species. Finally, we examined the configuration of core areas as a strategy to exploit human-dominated landscape. 3.Our findings suggest that the mean hourly displacement of 4 large carnivores differed across habitats. Mean displacement of large carnivores varied from 77.58m/h for leopards to 665.3m/h for wolves. Tigers outside PAs exhibited higher displacement as compared to tigers inside PAs. Displacement during day and night were significantly different for tigers inside and outside PAs (P=0.03), and wolf whereas no difference was found for leopard and dholes. The movement and ranging patterns of species outside PAs were influenced by anthropogenic factors such as human population, road network density, and landuse. All carnivores showed multiple areas of intensive use or cores in their home ranges. The range of the core area sizes was greater for species outside PAs (tiger and wolf) in human-altered landscapes. 4.Movement ecology of large carnivores has not been explored using such an exhaustive dataset in India. Our study attempts to extend theoretical concepts to applied management problems. This study can be a starting point for rigorous studies on interlinking animal movement and landscape management for large carnivore conservation and policy-making in the Anthropocene.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

23 Jul 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
27 Jul 2020Assigned to Editor
27 Jul 2020Submission Checks Completed
28 Jul 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Sep 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Sep 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor