Not a cakewalk: Insights into movement of large carnivores in human dominated landscapes in India

Mr Nilanjan Chatterjee1, Dr. Bilal  Habib1, Ms Pallavi Ghaskadbi1, Mr Zehidul  Hussain1, Capt (Dr.)  Parag Nigam1

1Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India

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 potentially lead to conflict. Therefore, studying how large carnivores adapt their movement to dynamic landscape conditions is vital for conservation policy. We first quantified the movement parameters of large carnivores in and outside protected areas in India (tiger, leopard). We then tested the effects of human pressures like human density, road density and land use types on the movement of the species across the landscapes. Our findings suggest that the mean hourly displacement of large carnivores differed across habitats. Mean displacement of large carnivores varied from 77.58 m/h for leopards to 265.3 m/h for tigers. 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), whereas no difference was found for leopard. The movement and ranging patterns of species outside PAs were influenced by anthropogenic factors such as human population, road network density, and land use types. The range of the core area sizes was greater for species outside PAs in human altered landscapes. 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.


Biography:

He is a PhD Student in Wildlife Institute of India. He is working in a tiger monitoring project of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra for the fulfilment of his PhD. Being a trained mountaineer, he utilizes his skills to explore the less discovered Himalayas in his leisure. He is also interested in Wildlife photography. More of his works can be found at footloose-madcap.blogspot.in

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