European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 195–204 | Cite as

Assessment of spatial and habitat use overlap between Himalayan tahr and livestock in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, India

  • Swati Kittur
  • Sambandam Sathyakumar
  • Gopal Singh Rawat
Original Paper


Livestock grazing and associated habitat degradation are considered as major reasons for declining populations of wild ungulates. In the Himalaya, livestock grazing has been practiced for centuries. We studied the spatial and habitat use overlap between the Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) and domestic migratory livestock (Capra aegagrus hircus and Ovis aries) in the subalpine and alpine areas of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand, India, from April 2003 to March 2004 to investigate if there was an impact of livestock grazing on the habitat use of tahr in this area. Habitat parameters such as altitude, aspect, slope, and vegetation cover used by the tahr and livestock were quantified and compared. Minimal spatial overlap was observed. Tahr demonstrated preference for higher altitude and steeper terrain and occupied rocky terrain with comparatively less grass, shrub, and tree cover, while livestock occupied lower slope categories with low rock cover and more shrub and tree cover. Livestock used altitude, slope, and aspect categories in proportion to their availability. However, the difference in use of altitude and slope was not significant, and an increase in the population of the tahr over the years in the study area was concomitant to the decrease in the livestock use of the area, which raises doubts as to whether this minimal habitat overlap is an outcome of spatial displacement or exclusion of the tahr from certain habitats.


Greater Himalaya Livestock grazing Spatial overlap Spatial displacement Hemitragus jemlahicus 



This study was funded under the Institutional Cooperation Programme between the Wildlife Institute of India and University of Tromso, Norway. We thank our counterpart Dr. J. L. Fox, University of Tromso, Norway, for his help and support during the study. We thank Mr. S. Chandola, Chief Wildlife Warden, Uttarakhand; Mr. C. K. Kavidayal, DFO, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary; and rangers and field staff at the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary for their help and cooperation during the study. We thank Mr. P. R. Sinha, director, Wildlife Institute of India, and his predecessors, Mr. V. B. Sawarkar and Mr. S. Singsit, for their encouragement and support. We are grateful to Dr. David Forsyth and three anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. S. Kittur would like to thank K. S. Gopisundar for help with manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swati Kittur
    • 1
  • Sambandam Sathyakumar
    • 1
  • Gopal Singh Rawat
    • 1
  1. 1.Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehradunIndia

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