Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi

Scientist, High Altitudes

Kulbhushansingh 20suryawanshi 20profile lowres

Ph.D. Ecology and Conservation, NCF & Manipal University
M.Sc. Wildlife Biology and Conservation, NCBS & WCS-India
B.Sc. Zoology, Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad

I aim to work towards wildlife conservation through robust applied scientific research informing management and policy. My work, so far, has focused on the understanding and conservation of the alpine and high-altitude regions of the Himalaya and other Central Asian mountains. My Doctoral thesis focuses on identifying the causes of livestock predation by snow leopards and finding ways to minimize it through management of wild herbivore and livestock populations. I also examined the perceptions and attitudes of local herders to find ways of minimizing the persecution of the snow leopard. I used population ecology to develop an understanding of the interactions between large carnivores, their wild ungulate prey and livestock.

Projects

Dscn9469

People, livestock and snow leopards

Unique livestock insurance schemes betters prospects for herders and carnivores

Red 20fox 20in 20gete 20village  20spiti  20hp ag

Completed

Response of red fox to village expansion

How does red fox respond to increasing village size in the Trans-Himalaya?

Dsc 1033

Shared pastures

How mountain ungulates of the trans-Himalaya live together

Walking 20snow 20leopard 20sign 20transect 20above 205 000m

Snow leopard and prey distribution

Factors affecting snow leopard & wild-prey at multiple scales 

Livestock demchokarea

Snow Leopard Friendly Pashmina

converging traditional livelihood, culture and wildlife conservation

Sl 20cam 20trap 201

Snow leopard - prey dynamics

Understanding impact of wild prey availability on snow leopard killing livestock

Urial devika

Understanding urial

Factors affecting distribution and abundance of Ladakh urial

Publications

  • Book Chapter
    In press
    Conflicts over snow leopard conservation and livestock production
    Conservation Conflicts, Redpath S, Young J, Gutierrez R, Wood K (eds.), Cambridge University Press.
  • Journal Article
    2019
    Sampling bias in snow leopard population estimation studies
    Population Ecology 10.1002/1438-390X.1027
    Download

    PDF, 10.1 MB

    Accurate assessments of the status of threatened species and their conservation planning require reliable estimation of their global populations and robust monitoring of local population trends. We assessed the adequacy and suitability of studies in reliably estimating the global snow leopard (Panthera uncia) population. We compiled a dataset of all the peer-reviewed published literature on snow leopard population estimation. Metadata analysis showed estimates of snow leopard density to be a negative exponential function of area, suggesting that study areas have generally been too small for accurate density estimation, and sampling has often been biased towards the best habitats. Published studies are restricted to six of the 12 range countries, covering only 0.3–0.9% of the presumed global range of the species. Re-sampling of camera trap data from a relatively large study site (c.1684 km2) showed that small-sized study areas together with a bias towards good quality habitats in existing studies may have overestimated densities by up to five times. We conclude that current information is biased and inadequate for generating a reliable global population estimate of snow leopards. To develop a rigorous and useful baseline and to avoid pitfalls, there is an urgent need for (a) refinement of sampling and analytical protocols for population estimation of snow leopards (b) agreement and coordinated use of standardized sampling protocols amongst researchers and governments across the range, and (c) sampling larger and under-represented areas of the snow leopard's global range.

  • Journal Article
    2019
    Distribution and activity pattern of stone marten Martes foina in relation to prey and predators
    Mammalian Biology; Volume 96, May 2019, Pages 110-117
    Download

    PDF, 1.56 MB

    Small carnivores are expected to optimize their activity to maximize prey capture and minimize their encounter with  predators. We assessed the activity pattern of the stone marten
    Martes foinain relation to its potential prey, the Himalayan woolly hare Lepus oiostolus and the Royle’s pika Ochotona roylei, and its predators, the red fox Vulpes vulpesand the free-ranging dog Canis familiaris. Using three years of camera trapping data from the Indian Trans-Himalaya, we estimated individual and pair-wise spatio-temporal niche width and overlap, respectively, using Levins’ asymmetric index. Stone martens showed limited space use (spatial niche width 0.16) and nocturnal activity (temporal niche width 0.35). They had high temporal (0.75) and low spatial overlap (0.05) with hares; while they had relatively low temporal (0.33) but higher spatial overlap (0.29) with pikas. Red foxes showed relatively high temporal (1.21) and spatial (0.75) overlap with martens, while free-ranging dogs showed low temporal (0.23) and spatial (0.03) overlap with martens. Although restricted space and time use by pikas might help martens track pikas even with relatively low spatio-temporal overlap, martens may be benefiting from higher temporal overlap with hares. While martens seem to be co-existing with foxes, their nocturnal activity might be driven by a trade-off between consuming prey and avoidance of diurnal predators like dogs.

  • Book Chapter
    2018
    Living with Snow Leopards: a pluralistic approach to conservation
    In Conservation from the Margins. (Eds) Umesh Srinivasan & Nandini Velho. Orient Blackswan
    Download

    PDF, 1.68 MB

  • Report
    2018
    Population assessment of the Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) using the Double-observer Survey method in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve
    Technical Report, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India
    Download

    PDF, 4.59 MB

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Local community neutralizes traditional wolf traps and builds a stupa
    Oryx
  • Book Chapter
    2018
    Large Carnivore and Conservation and Management
    Charudutt Mishra, justine Shanti Alexander, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Orjan Johansson, Koustubh Sharma, Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Gustaf Samelius
    Download

    PDF, 1.44 MB

  • Dataset
    2017
    Data from: Impact of wild prey availability on livestock predation by snow leopards
    Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Steve Redpath, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Uma Ramakrishnan, Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Sophie Smout, Charudutt Mishra
    Data Dryad: doi:10.5061/dryad.8p689
  • Journal Article
    2017
    Impact of wild prey availability on livestock predation by snow leopards. 
    Royal Society Open Science, 4(6), 170026.
    Download

    PDF, 566 KB

    An increasing proportion of the world's poor is rearing livestock today, and the global livestock population is growing. Livestock predation by large carnivores and their retaliatory killing is becoming an economic and conservation concern. A common recommendation for carnivore conservation and for reducing predation on livestock is to increase wild prey populations based on the assumption that the carnivores will consume this alternative food. Livestock predation, however, could either reduce or intensify with increases in wild prey depending on prey choice and trends in carnivore abundance. We show that the extent of livestock predation by the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia intensifies with increases in the density of wild ungulate prey, and subsequently stabilizes. We found that snow leopard density, estimated at seven sites, was a positive linear function of the density of wild ungulates—the preferred prey—and showed no discernible relationship with livestock density. We also found that modelled livestock predation increased with livestock density. Our results suggest that snow leopard conservation would benefit from an increase in wild ungulates, but that would intensify the problem of livestock predation for pastoralists. The potential benefits of increased wild prey abundance in reducing livestock predation can be overwhelmed by a resultant increase in snow leopard populations. Snow leopard conservation efforts aimed at facilitating increases in wild prey must be accompanied by greater assistance for better livestock protection and offsetting the economic damage caused by carnivores.

  • Book Chapter
    2017
    Birds in Relation to Farming and Livestock Grazing in the Indian Trans-Himalayas
    In Bird Migration across the Himalayas: Wetland Functioning amidst Mountains and Glaciers
    Download

    PDF, 194 KB

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