Advertisement

Mammalian Biology

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 11–20 | Cite as

Understanding patterns of distribution and space-use by Ursus thibetanus in Khangchendzonga, India: Initiative towards conservation

  • Tawqir Bashir
  • Tapajit Bhattacharya
  • Kamal Poudyal
  • Qamar Qureshi
  • Sambandam SathyakumarEmail author
Original investigation

Abstract

Increasing rate of bear-human conflict and declining black bear population remains a conservation paradox throughout its distributional range. Sound information on the patterns and dynamics of bear occurrence seems prerequisite towards addressing this issue, particularly in sub-tropical and temperate ecosystems. We aimed to understand the patterns of space-use and distribution of Asiatic black bears Ursus thibetanus in the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (BR) of Eastern Himalaya, and the factors influencing the same. We also modelled the distribution and extent of suitable habitats for bears in the Khangchendzonga landscape. We used sign surveys, trail monitorings, camera trapping, occupancy based space-use modelling and presence-only habitat suitability modelling using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA). Almost all the black bear evidences (98%) were recorded from temperate and subalpine habitats. Broadleaved and coniferous forests were the best predictors for bear occurrence, and the percentage of acorn producing trees in temperate zone was the most important factor positively influencing the proportion of site utilization by bears during pre-hibernation periods. ENFA results indicate black bear as a ‘habitat specialist species’ and delineated only a small portion of the Biosphere Reserve (5.35%) as highly suitable for its occurrence. These highly suitable patches mostly occurred in the buffer zone outside the National Park boundary and were therefore, found as more susceptible to conflicts. Such patterns in habitat preference highlight the importance of local landscapes and demand for site specific conservation and management strategies for black bears in Khangchendzonga.

Keywords

Bear-human conflict Conservation Khangchendzonga Space-use Ursus thibetanus 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abbas, F., Bhatti, Z.I., Haider, J., Mian, A., 2015. Bears in Pakistan: distribution, population biology and human conflicts. J. Biores. Manag. 2, 1–13.Google Scholar
  2. Ali, A., Zhou, Z., Waseem, M., Khan, M.F., Ali, I., Asad, M., Qashqaei, A.T., 2017. An assessment of food habits and altitudinal distribution of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) in the Western Himalayas, Pakistan. J. Nat. Hist. 51, 689–701.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, R., Martínez-Meyer, E., 2004. Modeling species’ geographic distributions for preliminary conservation assessments: an implementation with the spiny pocket mice (Heteromys) of Ecuador. Biol. Conserv. 116, 167–179.Google Scholar
  4. Appel, A., Werhahn, G., Acharya, R., Ghimirey, Y., Adhikary, B., 2013. Small carnivores in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Vertebr. Zool. 63, 111–121.Google Scholar
  5. Bailey, L.L., Hines, J.E., Nichols, J.D., MacKenzie, D.I., 2007. Sampling design trade-offs in occupancy studies with imperfect detection: examples and software. Ecol. Appl. 17, 281–290.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bashir, T., Bhattacharya, T., Poudyal, K., Sathyakumar, S., Qureshi, Q., 2014. Integrating aspects of ecology and predictive modelling: implications forthe conservation of the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) in the Eastern Himalaya. Acta Theriol. 59, 35–47.Google Scholar
  7. Benson, J.F., Chamberlain, M.J., 2007. Space use and habitat selection by female Louisiana black bears in the Tensas River Basin of Louisiana. J. Wildl. Manag. 71, 117–126.Google Scholar
  8. Bista, R., Aryal, A., 2013. Status of the Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus in the south-eastern region of the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Zool. Ecol. 23, 83–87.Google Scholar
  9. Boyce, M.S., Vernier, P.R., Nielsen, S.E., Schmiegelow, F.K.A., 2002. Evaluating resource selection functions. Ecol. Model. 157, 281–300.Google Scholar
  10. Can, O.E., Cruze, N.D., Garshelis, D.L., Beecham, J.J., Macdonald, D.W., 2014. Resolving human- bear conflict: a global survey of countries, experts and key factors. Conserv. Lett. 7, 501–513.Google Scholar
  11. Carbone, C., Christie, S., Conforti, K., Coulson, T., Franklin, N., Ginsberg, J.R., et al., 2001. The use of photographic rates to estimate densities of tigers and other cryptic mammals. Anim. Conserv. 4, 75–79.Google Scholar
  12. Carr, M., Yoshizaki, J., van Manen, F.T., Pelton, M.R., Huygens, O.C., Hayashi, H., Maekawa, M., 2002. A multi-scale assessment of habitat use by Asiatic black bears in central Japan. Ursus 13, 1–9.Google Scholar
  13. Charoo, S.A., Sharma, L.K., Sathyakumar, S., 2011. Asiatic black bear-human interactions around Dachigam National Park, Kashmir, India. Ursus 22, 106–113.Google Scholar
  14. Chauhan, N.P.S., 2003. Human casualties and livestock depredation by black and brown bears in the Indian Himalaya, 1989–98. Ursus 14, 84–87.Google Scholar
  15. Escobar, L.E., Awan, M.N., Qiao, H., 2015. Anthropogenic disturbance and habitat loss forthe red-listed Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus): using ecological niche modeling and nighttime light satellite imagery. Biol. Conserv. 191, 400–407.Google Scholar
  16. Fielding, A.H., Bell, J.F., 1997. A review of methods forthe assessment of prediction errors in conservation presence/absence models. Environ. Conserv. 24, 38–49.Google Scholar
  17. Fleishman, E., Murphy, D.D., Brussard, P.F., 2000. A new method for selection of umbrella species for conservation planning. Ecol. Appl. 10, 569–579.Google Scholar
  18. Garshelis, D., Steinmetz, R., 2016. Ursus thibetanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species e.T22824A034242 (Accessed 1 May 2017)  https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016–3.RLTS.T22824A034242.en.Google Scholar
  19. Gutleb, B., Ziaie, H., 1999. On the distribution and status of the brown bear, Ursus arctos, and the Asiatic black bear, U. thibetanus, in Iran. Zool. Middle East 18, 5–8.Google Scholar
  20. Hashimoto, Y., Takatsuki, S., 1997. Food habits of Japanese black bears: a review. Mamm. Sci. 37, 1–19.Google Scholar
  21. Hashimoto, Y., Kaji, M., Sawada, H., Takatsuki, S., 2003. Five-year study on the autumn food habits of the Asiatic black bear in relation to nut production. Ecol. Res. 18, 485–492.Google Scholar
  22. Hernandez, P.A., Graham, C.H., Master, L.L., Albert, D.L., 2006. The effect of sample size and species characteristics on performance of different species distribution modeling methods. Ecography 29, 773–785.Google Scholar
  23. Hines, J.E., 2006. PRESENCE 4.0 — Software to Estimate Patch Occupancy and Related Parameters. USGSPWRC https://doi.org/www.mbrpwrc.usgs.gov/software/PRESENCE.html.Google Scholar
  24. Hirzel, A.H., Hausser, J., Chessel, D., Perrin, N., 2002. Ecological niche factor analysis: how to compute habitat-suitability maps without absence data? Ecology 83, 2027–2036.Google Scholar
  25. Hirzel, A.H., Le Lay, G., Helfer, V., Randin, C., Guisan, A., 2006. Evaluating the ability of habitat suitability models to predict species presences. Ecol. Model. 199, 142–152.Google Scholar
  26. Hirzel, A.H., Hausser, J., Perrin, N., 2007. Biomapper4.0. Laboratory of Conservation Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Switzerland https://doi.org/www2.unil.ch/biomapper.Google Scholar
  27. Honda, T., Yoshida, Y., Nagaike, T., 2009. Predictive risk model and map of human-Asiatic black bear contact in Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan. Mamm. Study 34, 77–84.Google Scholar
  28. Huygens, O.C., Miyashita, T., Dahle, B., Carr, M., Izumiyama, S., Sugawara, T., Hayashi, H., 2003. Diet and feeding habits of asiatic black bears in the Northern Japanese alps. Ursus. 14, 236–245.Google Scholar
  29. Hwang, M.H., Garshelis, D.L., Wang, Y., 2002. Diets of Asiatic black bears in Taiwan, with methodological and geographical comparisons. Ursus 13, 111–125.Google Scholar
  30. Hwang, M.H., Garshelis, D.L., Wu, Y.H., Wang, Y., 2010. Home ranges of Asiatic black bears in the Central Mountains of Taiwan: gauging whether a reserve is big enough. Ursus 21, 81–96.Google Scholar
  31. Izumiyama, S., Shiraishi, T., 2004. Seasonal changes in elevation and habitat use of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) in the Northern Japan Alps. Mamm. Study 29, 1–8.Google Scholar
  32. Jnawali, S.R., Baral, H.S., Lee, S., Acharya, K.P., Upadhyay, G.P., Pandey, M., Shrestha, R., Joshi, D., Laminchhane, B.R., Griffiths, J., Khatiwada, A.P., Subedi, N., Amin, R., 2011. The Status of Nepal Mammals: The National Red List Series. Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal.Google Scholar
  33. Kandel, P., Gurung, J., Chettri, N., Ning, W., Sharma, E., 2016. Biodiversity research trends and gap analysis from a transboundary landscape, Eastern Himalayas. J. Asia Pac. Biodivers. 9, 1–10.Google Scholar
  34. Koike, S., Kasai, S., Yamazaki, K., 2008. Fruit phenology of Prunus jamasakura and the feeding habit of the Asiatic black bear as a seed disperser. Ecol. Res. 23, 385–392.Google Scholar
  35. Koike, S., 2010. Long-term trends in food habits of Asiatic black bear in the Misaka Mountains on the Pacific coast of central Japan. Mamm. Biol. 74, 17–28.Google Scholar
  36. Kozakai, C., Yamazaki, K., Nemoto, Y., Nakajima, A., Koike, S., Abe, S., Masaki, T., Kaji, K., 2011. Effect of mast production on home range use ofJapanese black bears. J. Wildl. Manag. 75, 867–875.Google Scholar
  37. Lewis, D.L., Breck, S.W., Wilson, K.R., Webb, C.T., 2014. Modeling black bear population dynamics in a human-dominated stochastic environment. Ecol. Model. 294, 51–58.Google Scholar
  38. Mackenzie, D.I., Royle, A., 2005. Designing occupancy studies: general advice and allocating survey effort. J. Appl. Ecol. 42, 1105–1114.Google Scholar
  39. Mackenzie, D.I., 2006. Modeling the probability of resource use: the effect of, and dealing with, detecting a species imperfectly. J. Wildl. Manag. 70, 367–374.Google Scholar
  40. MacKenzie, D.I., Nichols, J.D., Royle, J.A., Pollack, K.H., Bailey, L.L., Hines, J.E., 2006. Occupancy Estimation and Modeling. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  41. Mateo, R.G., Felicısimo, A.M., Munoz, J., 2010. Effects of the number of presences on reliability and stability of MARS species distribution models: the importance of regional niche variation and ecological heterogeneity. J. Veg. Sci. 21, 908–922.Google Scholar
  42. McArdle, B.H., 1990. When are rare species not there? Oikos 57, 276–277.Google Scholar
  43. Moen, J., Andersen, R., Illius, A., 2006. Living in a seasonal environment. In: Danell, K., Duncan, P., Bergstrom, R., Pastor, J. (Eds.), Large Herbivore Ecology, EcosYstem Dynamics and Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 50–70.Google Scholar
  44. Monroy-Vilchis, O., Castillo-Huitrón, N.M., Zarco-González, M.M., Rodríguez-Soto, C., 2016. Potential distribution of Ursus americanus in Mexico and its persistence: implications for conservation. J. Nat. Conserv. 29, 62–68.Google Scholar
  45. Myers, N., Mittermier, R.A., Mittermier, C.G., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Kent, J., 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 40, 853–858.Google Scholar
  46. Nakajima, A., Koile, S., Masaki, T., Shimada, T., Kozaki, C., Nemoto, Y., 2012. Spatial and elevation variation in fruiting phenology of a deciduous oak (Quercus crispula) and its effect on foraging behavior of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus). Ecol. Res. 27, 529–538.Google Scholar
  47. Oka, T., Miura, S., Masaki, T., Suzuki, W., Osumi, K., Saitoh, S., 2004. Relationship between changes in beechnut production and Asiatic black bears in northern Japan. J. Wildl. Manag. 68, 979–986.Google Scholar
  48. Reid, D., Jiang, M.D., Teng, Q.-T., Qin, Z.S., Hu, J.-C., 1991. Ecology of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) in Sichuan, China. Mammalia 55, 221–237.Google Scholar
  49. Ripple, W.J., Estes, J.A., Beschta, R.L., Wilmers, C.C., Ritchie, E.G., Hebblewhite, M., Berger, J., Elmhagen, B., Letnic, M., Nelson, M.P., Schmitz, O.J., Smith, D.W., Wallach, A.D., Wirsing, A.J., 2014. Status and ecological effects of the world’s largest carnivores. Science 343 (6167), 1241484.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Sathyakumar, S., 2001. Status and management of Asiatic black bear and himalayan brown bear in India. Ursus 12, 21–30.Google Scholar
  51. Sathyakumar, S., Viswanath, S., 2003. Observations on food habits of Asiatic black bear in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, India: preliminary evidence on their role in seed germination and dispersal. Ursus 14, 99–103.Google Scholar
  52. Sathyakumar, S., 2006. The status of Asiatic black bears in India. In: Understanding Asian Bears to Secure Their Future. Japan Bear Network, Ibaraki, Japan, pp. 12–19.Google Scholar
  53. Sathyakumar, S., Choudhury, A., 2007. Distribution and Status of Asiatic black bear in India, 2005. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 104, 316–323.Google Scholar
  54. Sathyakumar, S., Bashir, T., Bhattacharya, T., Poudyal, K., 2011. Assessing mammal distribution and abundance in intricate eastern Himalayan habitats of Khangchendzonga, Sikkim, India. Mammalia 75, 257–268.Google Scholar
  55. Sathyakumar, S., Sharma, L.K., Charoo, S.A., 2013. Ecology of Asiatic Black Bear in Dachigam National Park, Kashmir, India. Final Project Report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, 169 pp.Google Scholar
  56. Schaller, G.B., Qitao, T., Johnson, K.G., Xioaming, W., Heming, S., Jinchu, H., 1989. The feeding ecology of giant pandas and Asiatic black bears in the Tangjiahe Reserve, China. In: Gittleman, J.L. (Ed.), Carnivore Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA, pp. 212–241.Google Scholar
  57. Stockwell, D.R.B., Peterson, A.T., 2002. Effects of sample size on accuracy of species distribution models. Ecol. Model. 148, 1–13.Google Scholar
  58. Stubblefield, C.H., Shrestha, M., 2007. Status of Asiatic black bears in protected areas of Nepal and the effects of political turmoil. Ursus 18, 101–108.Google Scholar
  59. Takahata, C., Nishino, S., Kido, K., Izumiyama, S., 2013. An evaluation of habitat selection of Asiatic black bears in a season of prevalent conflicts. Ursus 24, 16–26.Google Scholar
  60. Tambe, S., 2007. Ecology and Management of the Alpine Landscape in the Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim Himalaya. Ph. D Dissertation. FRI University, Dehradun, 232 pp.Google Scholar
  61. Trent, J.A., 2010. Ecology, Habitat Use and Conservation of Asiatic Black Bear in the Min Mountains of Sichuan Province, China. M.Sc Thesis. Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 102 pp.Google Scholar
  62. Tsoar, A., Allouche, O., Steinitz, O., Rotem, D., Kadmon, R., 2007. A comparative evaluation of presence only methods for modelling species distribution. Divers. Distrib. 13, 397–405.Google Scholar
  63. van Schaik, C.P., Terborgh, J.W., Wright, S.J., 1993. The phenology of tropical forests: adaptive significance and consequences for primary consumers. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 24, 353–377.Google Scholar
  64. Wang, W., Ma, J., Yu, H., Hu, L., 2008. Food habits of Asiatic black bears in the Xiao Xing’ anling Mountains. Acta Theriol. Sin. 28, 7–13.Google Scholar
  65. Weaver, K., 2000. Black bear ecology and the use of prescribed fire to enhance bear habitat. In: Yaussy, D.A. (Ed.), Proceedings-Workshop on Fire, People, and the Central Hardwoods Landscape. USDA Forest Service Publications, Richmond, KY, USA, pp. 89–96.Google Scholar
  66. Yadav, B., 2007. An Assessment of Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus Thibetanus). Human Conflicts at Dhorpartan Hunting Reserve, Nepal,. (Accessed 25 April 2017) https://doi.org/www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/projects/bhupendra_prasad_yadav.Google Scholar
  67. Yamamoto, T., Tamatani, H., Tanaka, J., Yokoyama, S., Kamiike, K., Koyama, M., Seki, K., Kakefuda, S., Kato, Y., Izawa, N., 2012. Annual and seasonal home range characteristics of female Asiatic black bears in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Ursus 23, 218–225.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tawqir Bashir
    • 1
  • Tapajit Bhattacharya
    • 1
  • Kamal Poudyal
    • 1
  • Qamar Qureshi
    • 1
  • Sambandam Sathyakumar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Wildlife Institute of IndiaUttarakhandIndia

Personalised recommendations