Factors affecting the occupancy of sloth bear and its detectionprobability in Parsa–KoshiComplex, Nepal

Authors: Hari Prasad Sharma, Hem Bahadur Katuwal, Bishnu Prasad Bhattarai, Shivish Bhandari, Dipendra Adhikari, Bishnu Aryal, Krishna Tamang, Amrit Neupane, Sabin KC, Basudev Baral, Surya Devkota, Dev Narayan Mandal, Sandeep Regmi

Abstract: Understanding factors associated with coexistence of human and wildlife in human-dominated landscapes is crucial for effective species conservation. Among the wildlife species, the sloth bears Melursus ursinus are found both inside and outside the protected areas of Nepal, and with increasing cases of human and bear conflicts in both areas. This highlights the necessity for a comprehensive understanding of anthropogenic and ecological factors that affect the occurrence of sloth bear. The
understanding of these factors is important for its coexistence and conservation in human-dominated areas through establishing management and conservation action plan. We studied the sloth bear’s occupancy and their coexistence in human-dominated environments with other large predators in the Parsa–Koshi Complex of Nepal using camera traps from December 2022 to March 2023. We identified the occupancy and detection probability of the sloth bear as 0.12 and 0.31, respectively.
Our analysis reveals a positive relationship between sloth bear occurrence and the presence of large predators (βpredators = 3.104 ± 0.968), such as tigers (Panthera tigris) and leopards (Panthera pardus), as well as the number of humans detected (βhuman = 1.428 ± 1.216) and canopy cover percentage (βcc = 1.002 ± 0.737). However, the number of livestock detected shows a negative interaction with the occurrence of sloth bears (βlivestock = −2.240 ± 1.467). There was insignificant interaction between sloth bear occupancy and distance to human settlements, roads, and water bodies. These findings underscore the complex dynamics between sloth bears, humans, large predators, and livestock in human-dominated
landscapes. To ensure the long-term survival of sloth bear populations and promote species conservation,
comprehensive conservation strategies that account for both ecological and socio-economic factors are essential.

Key words: camera traps, lowland, Melursus ursinus, occupancy, Parsa–Koshi
Complex, sloth bear

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Understanding the perception of buffer zone communities to gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) conservation in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Authors: Abhinaya Pathak, Ashish Bashyal, Bishwa Nath Oli, Bishnu Thapaliya, Santosh Bhattarai, Sujan Khanal, Prashamsa Paudel


The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is a Critically Endangered species found in Nepal and India. In
Nepal, gharials are distributed in Chitwan and Bardia National Parks. Gharials are highly
threatened due to various and severe anthropogenic activities. In this study, we assess the attitude,
perception and willingness of a range of stakeholders living around Chitwan National Park to
participate in gharial conservation. We conducted semi-structured questionnaire surveys with open ended questions. We interviewed national park officials (n=8), local community group members
(n=54), hoteliers (n=12), conservation partners (n=5), local elected representatives (n=38), fishing
community members (n=14), fishing net sellers (n=15) and students (n=9). Our study revealed that
respondents are familiar with existing conservation awareness activities and expressed their
willingness to participate in gharial conservation activities which can be capitalized on for future
conservation initiatives for gharials. Further, we suggest to concentrate efforts particularly on local
representatives, fishing net sellers and river dependent communities. These efforts include
community level gharial knowledge sharing and interaction program, school teaching program,
participating community in gharial conservation and its habitat management intervention and
livelihood programs.

Keywords: Gharial; Crocodilian; Chitwan National Park; Buffer Zone, Perception

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Species composition and habitat associations of birds around Jhilmila Lake at Western Chure Landscape, Nepal

Authors: Dipendra Adhikari, Jagan Nath Adhikari, Janak Raj Khatiwada, Bishnu Prasad Bhattarai, Subarna Ghimire, Deepak Rijal

Abstract: Wetlands support around 27% of birds in Nepal, however, there is a paucity of information about bird diversity and the wetland habitat of Western Chure Landscape Nepal. The “point count” method along transects was carried out to evaluate the species composition and habitat associations of birds. A total of 2,532 individuals representing 152 species (winter: N = 140 and summer: N = 91) from 19 orders and 51 families were reported from Jhilmila Lake and its surrounding area. The number of birds was reported to be significantly higher during winter than in the summer season. The species diversity was also higher in winter (Shannon’s index (H) = 4.38, Fisher’s alpha = 30.67) than in summer (H = 4.21, Fisher’s alpha = 34.69) as this area is surrounded by oldgrowth forest that provides available habitats for forest, grassland- and wetland-dwelling birds. This lake is an example of a wetland present in the Chure area that plays an important role in the conservation of biodiversity along with birds. Hence, we recommend its detailed study in terms of biodiversity and water quality.

Keywords: Chure, bird diversity, endangered, forest, wetland

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Diversity and habitat associations of non-volant small mammals in forest patches of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Authors: Sital Budhathoki, Jagan Nath Adhikari, Binod Bhattarai, Dipendra Adhikari, Bishnu Prasad Bhattarai

Abstract: Forest patches in urban areas can have the potential to provide shelter, resources, and breeding space for small mammals. This study aimed to explore the diversity, abundance, and habitat associations of non-volant small mammals in forest patches of Kathmandu Valley. Three sites were selected for the study: Ranibari Community Forest, Swayambhunath Hillock, and Coronation Garden of Tribhuvan University. The roost survey, line transect survey and direct observation methods were used for the study. The field survey was conducted in June–July 2019. In those selected sites, 250 m transects were laid and 25 live traps (Local, Sherman, and Tube) were set for capturing small mammals. Trapped individuals were measured, marked, and released at the site. From a survey of 600 trap nights, 61 individuals representing six species, four families and three orders were identified. Asian house shrew (Suncus murinus) was the most dominant species. Abundance of small mammals was higher in Ranibari Community Forest whereas Coronation Garden had the lowest abundance of non-volant small mammals. Small mammal distribution pattern was clumped in study areas owing to the uneven distribution of resources in the natural environment. Species response to five environmental parameters (distance to settlement, road, water, open canopy and closed canopy) showed significant relation in Ranibari Community Forest (F=2.446, P=0.018) and Coronation Garden (F=2.75 P=0.05), whereas it was insignificant in Swayambhunath Hillock (F=1.60 P=0.17). These results suggested that diversity, distribution, and abundance of small mammals in urban forest patches are influenced by habitat types and environmental parameters.

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The potential distribution of yellow monitor, Varanus flavescens (Hardwick & Gray) under multiple climate, land cover and dispersal scenarios

Authors: Suraj Baral, Amar Kunwar, Dipendra Adhikari, Kanti Kandel, Dev Narayan Mandal, Arjun Thapa, Dinesh Neupane and Tej Bahadur Thapa

Abstract: Context. Human-induced changes in climate and land cover have altered the distribution of fauna around the globe. Some reptiles have been found to be vulnerable to these changes; therefore, studies to identify the impact of the changes on other groups of reptiles are necessary. Aims. We aimed to study the impact of climate and land cover change on the yellow monitor (Varanus flavescens) in Nepal. We also aimed to identify the current distribution range and predict the potential distribution under multiple climate change, corresponding land cover change, and dispersion scenarios in the near-and mid-future. Methods. We used available presence locations with a candidate set of the least-correlated environmental variables and an Ensemble of Small Models (ESM), a Species Distribution Model (SDM) approach suitable for species with small sample size. Additionally, dispersal scenarios of 1 km, 5 km, and 10 km were added to the model to determine the future distribution under the dispersal scenarios. Key results. We found soil particle size, distance to forest, precipitation of wettest quarter, bulk density, and elevation were the five most important variables contributing to the distribution of the species. The Terai lowland and wide valleys in Outer Himalayas are currently suitable but are expected to experience a substantial decrease under most future climate projections and dispersal scenarios. Conclusions. The distribution is mostly dependent on soil-related variables; however, climatic variables might have a greater impact on future suitability. Implications. Limiting emissions contributing to climatic changes, conserving the soil outside the protected areas, and the potential areas where the species will not experience habitat loss might contribute to the conservation of the species.

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Rarely naturalized, but widespread and even invasive: the paradox of a popular pet terrapin expansion in Eurasia

Rarely naturalized, but widespread and even invasive: the paradox of a popular pet terrapin expansion in Eurasia

Authors:     Andrey N. Reshetnikov, Marina G. Zibrova, Dinçer Ayaz, Santosh Bhattarai, Oleg V. Borodin  et. al.