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Spatial segregation between wild ungulates and livestock outside protected areas in the lowlands of Nepal
  • Shivish Bhandari,
  • Ramiro Crego,
  • Jared Stabach
Shivish Bhandari
Himalayan Biodiversity Network Nepal
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Ramiro Crego
University of North Texas
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Jared Stabach
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
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Abstract

Understanding how wildlife interacts with human activities across non-protected areas are critical for conservation. This is especially true for ungulates that inhabit human-dominated landscapes outside the protected area system in Nepal, where wildlife often coexist with livestock. Here we investigated how elevation, agricultural land, distance from roads, and the relative abundance of livestock influenced wild ungulate (chital (Axis axis), nilgai, barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and sambar (Rusa unicolor)) abundance and occurrence. We counted all individuals of wild ungulates and livestock along 35 transects conducted between November 2017 and March 2018 in Bara and Rautahat forests in the lowlands of Nepal. We assessed abundance and occurrence relation to covariates using Generalized Linear Models. We found that livestock outnumbered wild ungulates 6 to 1. Wild boar was the most abundant wild ungulate, followed by nilgai, chital, barking deer and sambar. We found that elevation and livestock abundance were the most important covariates affecting the overall abundance of wild ungulates and the distribution of each individual ungulate species. Our results suggest spatial segregation between wild ungulates, which occur mainly on highlands, and livestock that concentrate across lowland habitats. Our results provide critical information to improve conservation in community forest areas of Nepal, where wildlife interacts with people and their livestock. Finding better strategies to allow the coexistence of ungulates with people and their livestock is imperative if they are to persist into the future.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

07 Sep 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
09 Sep 2020Assigned to Editor
09 Sep 2020Submission Checks Completed
10 Sep 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned