- Journal Article2017Assessing changes in distribution of the Endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia and its wild prey over 2 decades in the Indian Himalaya through interviewbased occupancy surveysdoi:10.1017/S0030605317001107Download
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Understanding species distributions, patterns of change and threats can form the basis for assessing the conservation status of elusive species that are difficult to survey. The snow leopard Panthera uncia is the top predator of the Central and South Asian mountains. Knowledge of the distribution and status of this elusive felid and its wild prey is limited. Using recall-based key-informant interviews we estimated site use by snow leopards and their primary wild prey, blue sheep Pseudois nayaur and Asiatic ibex Capra sibirica, across two time periods (past: –; recent: –) in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. We also conducted a threat assessment for the recent period. Probability of site use was similar across the two time periods for snow leopards, blue sheep and ibex, whereas for wild prey (blue sheep and ibex combined) overall there was an % contraction. Although our surveys were conducted in areas within the presumed distribution range of the snow leopard, we found snow leopards were using only % of the area (, km). Blue sheep and ibex had distinct distribution ranges. Snow leopards and their wild prey were not restricted to protected areas, which encompassed only % of their distribution within the study area. Migratory livestock grazing was pervasive across ibex distribution range and was the most widespread and serious conservation threat. Depredation by free-ranging dogs, and illegal hunting and wildlife trade were the other severe threats. Our results underscore the importance of community-based, landscape- scale conservation approaches and caution against reliance on geophysical and opinion-based distribution maps that have been used to estimate national and global snow leopard ranges.
- Popular Article2017From pastures for none to pastures for allSAEVUS, September-November, 36-41
- Journal Article2017Impact of wild prey availability on livestock predation by snow leopards.Royal Society Open Science, 4(6), 170026.Download
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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.
- Newsletter2017Observation of multiple sarcoptic mange related deaths in Himalayan Serow in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, IndiaKhanyari, M., Geladi, I & Ryan, R. (2017) Observation of multiple sarcoptic mange related deaths in Himalayan serow, in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, India. IUCN Caprinae Newsletter.Download
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The epizootic disease, sarcoptic mange is a wide-ranging problem across multiple taxa of the world. Its presence in Himalayan species has seldom been recorded and much less understood. This article is the first account of deaths caused by this disease in the cryptic and understudied Himalayan Serow, Capricornis thar, in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand, India. Data of deaths caused by sarcoptic mange in serow was collected by chance encounters with deceased individuals, semi-structured interviews with village communities and retrieving information from the Kedarnath Wildlife Department’s wildlife mortality archives. Between the months of March and October 2016, at least 12 adult serows were confirmed to have died due to sarcoptic mange, a number that according to the local community was higher than ever before for a given year. This account sheds light on the importance to understand long-term trends and mechanism of this disease in such mountain ungulate species, along with studying the ecology and habitat use of the serow, so that sustained conservation initiatives can be implemented.
- Popular Article2017"Are Blue Sheep Really Blue?"Nature in Focus (Wildlife Photostory) https://www.natureinfocus.in/indian-wildlife-information/are-blue-sheep-really-blue
- Popular Article2017"PIKA-boo"Nature in Focus (Wildlife Photostory) https://www.natureinfocus.in/indian-wildlife-information/pika-boo
- Popular Article2017Murder in the MountainsSaevus Magazine, September
- Report2017Population Density Estimation of Snow Leopard from Upper Kinnaur, Himachal PradeshMalgaonkar, A., Khanyari, M, Ghoshal, A. & Suryawanshi, K. (2017) Population Density Estimation of Snow Leopard from Upper Kinnaur. Submitted to Himachal Pradesh Forest Department.
- Report2017Population Density Estimation of Mountain Ungulates from Upper Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh.Khanyari, M., Malgaonkar, A., Ghoshal, A & Suryawanshi, K. (2017) Population Density Estimation of Mountain Ungulates from Upper Kinnaur. Submitted to Himachal Pradesh Forest Department.
- Popular Article2017"A Cat Among the People"Nature in Focus (Conservation Photostory)https://www.natureinfocus.in/nature-and-wildlife-conservation/a-cat-among-the-people
- Popular Article2017The Saiga Saga: Mongolian EditionSaiga News, August 2017 http://www.saigaresourcecentre.com/saiga-news/saiga-news-issue-22,-autumn-2017/
- Popular Article2017The fascinating world of fungiThe Hindu in School, 22 October
- Dataset2017Data from: Assessing changes in distribution of the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia and its wild prey over 2 decades in the Indian Himalaya through interview-based occupancy surveys.DOI: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hp4b3
The data set has occupancy values and local extinction probability values for 88 grids/sites of 15km X 15km each, for snow leopard, blue sheep, Asiatic ibex and wild prey (blue sheep and ibex combined), across an area of 14,616 sq.km in the Himalaya and Trans-Himalaya mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India.
- Journal Article2017Canine Conundrum: Domestic dogs as an invasive species and their impacts on wildlife in India.Animal Conservation. DOI 10.1111/acv.12389.
- Journal Article2017Commensal in conflict: Livestock depredation patterns by free-ranging domestic dogs in the Upper Spiti Landscape, Himachal PradeshAmbio 46(6): 655-666. DOI 10.1007/s13280-016-0858-6
- Book2017Birds of Tamil Nadu - pocket guide
- Book2017Birds of Kanha national park - pocket guide
- Journal Article2017Hunting or habitat? Drivers of waterbird abundance and community structure in agricultural wetlands of southern IndiaAmbio, 46(5): 613-620. DOI: 10.1007/s13280-017-0907-9
The relative impacts of hunting and habitat on waterbird community were studied in agricultural wetlands of southern India. We surveyed wetlands to document waterbird community, and interviewed hunters to document hunting intensity, targeted species, and the motivations for hunting. Our results show that hunting leads to drastic declines in waterbird diversity and numbers, and skew the community towards smaller species. Hunting intensity, water spread, and vegetation cover were the three most important determinants of waterbird abundance and community structure. Species richness, density of piscivorous species, and medium-sized species (31–65 cm) were most affected by hunting. Out of 53 species recorded, 47 were hunted, with a preference for larger birds. Although illegal, hunting has increased in recent years and is driven by market demand. This challenges the widely held belief that waterbird hunting in India is a low intensity, subsistence activity, and undermines the importance of agricultural wetlands in waterbird conservation.
- Popular Article2017Something strange in a bangle shop
- Popular Article2017Finding drama in everyday life