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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Greater Himalaya Livestock grazing Spatial overlap Spatial displacement Hemitragus jemlahicus 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Acevedo P, Cassinello J, Gortazar C (2007) The Iberian ibex is under an expansion trend but displaced to suboptimal habitats by the presence of extensive goat livestock in central Spain. Biodivers Conserv. doi: 10.1007/s10531-006-9032-y Google Scholar
  2. Ale S (2007) Ecology of the snow leopard and the Himalayan tahr in Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park, Nepal. PhD thesis, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USAGoogle Scholar
  3. Anonymous (2002) The Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, Government of India. Natraj Publishers, Dehradun, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagchi S, Mishra C, Bhatnagar YV, McCarthy T (2002) Out of Steppe? Pastoralism and Ibex conservation in Spiti. CERC Technical Report No. 7. Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and International Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle, USAGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauer JJ (1990) The analysis of plant—herbivore interactions between ungulates and vegetation on alpine grasslands in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Plant Ecol. doi: 10.1007/BF00045586 Google Scholar
  6. Caughley G (1970) Habitat of the Himalayan tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus (Smith). J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 67:302–307Google Scholar
  7. DADF (2003) Livestock census. Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. Online at: http://dahd.nic.in/census.htm. Accessed 20 Jan 2008
  8. ESRI (2006) ARCGIS ver. 9.2. http://www.esri.com
  9. Green MJB (1978) The ecology and feeding behaviour of the Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) in the Langtang Valley, Nepal. M.Sc. Dissertation, University of Durham, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. Green MJB (1985) An aspect of the ecology of Himalayan musk deer. Ph.D. Dissertation, Cambridge University, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  11. Holmes JRS (1970) A note on Himalayan tahr. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 67:103–105Google Scholar
  12. IUCN (2008) 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (www.iucnredlist.org). Accessed 22 Nov 2008
  13. Jackson R, Ahlborn G (1987) A high altitude wildlife survey of the Hongu valley with special emphasis on snow leopard. Report to HMG, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), Kathmandu, Nepal and King Mahendra trust (KMTNC), Kathmandu, NepalGoogle Scholar
  14. Kala CP, Rawat GS (1999) Effects of livestock grazing on the species diversity and biomass production in the alpine meadows of Garhwal Himalaya, India. Trop Ecol 40:69–74Google Scholar
  15. Loft ER, Menke JW, Kie JG (1991) Habitat shifts by mule deer: the influence of cattle grazing. J Wildl Manage 55:16–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Magguran AE (2004) Measuring biological diversity. Blackwell publishing, Oxford, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  17. Mishra C (2001) High altitude survival: conflicts between pastoralism and wildlife in the trans-Himalaya. Ph.D. thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  18. Mishra C, Wieren SEV, Ketner P, Heitkönig IMA, Prins HHT (2004) Competition between domestic livestock and wild bharal Pseudois nayaur in the Indian trans-Himalaya. J Appl Ecol. doi: 10.1111/j.0021-8901.2004.00885.x Google Scholar
  19. Namgail T, Fox JL, Bhatnagar YV (2007) Habitat shift and time budget of the Tibetan argali: the influence of livestock grazing. Ecol Res. doi: 10.1007/s11284-006-0015-y Google Scholar
  20. Neu CW, Byers CR, Peek JM (1974) A technique for analysis of utilization-availability data. J Wildl Manage 38:541–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Paudyal D, Bauer JJ (1988) A survey of wildlife, grasslands and pastoral systems of the upper Hinku and Hongu valleys. DNPWC, Kathmandu and woodlands Mountain Institute, Field Doc. No. 15 FAO Project NEP/85/011, Kathmandu, NepalGoogle Scholar
  22. Prins HHT (1992) The pastoral road to extinction: competition between wildlife and traditional pastoralism in East Africa. Environ Conserv 19:117–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Raghavan B (2003) Interaction between livestock and Ladakh Urial (Ovis vignei vignei). M.Sc. Dissertation, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  24. Rawat GS, Uniyal VM (1993) Pastoralism and plant conservation: the Valley of Flowers Dilemma. Environ Conserv 20:164–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Real R, Vargas JM (1996) The probabilistic basis of Jaccard’s index of similarity. Syst Biol 45:380–385Google Scholar
  26. Sathyakumar S (1994) Habitat ecology of major ungulates in the Kedarnath Musk deer Sanctuary, Western Himalaya. Ph.D. Thesis. Saurashtra University, Rajkot, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  27. Sathyakumar S, Prasad SN, Rawat GS, Johnsingh AJT (1993) Conservation status of Himalayan Musk deer and livestock impacts in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Himalaya. In: Pangtey YPS, Rawal RS (eds) High altitude of the Himalaya. Gyanodaya Prakashan, Nainital, India, pp 240–245Google Scholar
  28. Sathyakumar S, Rawat GS, Johnsingh AJT (2009) Himalayan tahr. In: Johnsingh AJT, Manjrekar N (eds) Mammals of South Asia. Oxford University Press, England (in press)Google Scholar
  29. Schaller GB (1973) Observations on Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus). J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 70:1–24Google Scholar
  30. Schaller GB (1977) Mountain monarchs: wild sheep and goat of the Himalayas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USAGoogle Scholar
  31. SPSS (1997) SPSS for Windows, version 8.0.0. SPSS Inc, Chicago, USAGoogle Scholar
  32. Stewart KM, Bowyer RT, Kie JG, Cimon NJ, Johnson BK (2002) Temporospatial distributions of Elk, mule deer and cattle: resource partitioning and competitive displacement. J Mammal 83(1):229–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stockley C (1928) Big game shooting in the Indian Empire. Constable and Co., LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Vinod TR, Sathyakumar S (1999) Ecology and conservation of mountain ungulates in Great Himalayan National Park, Western Himalaya. In: An ecological study of the conservation of biodiversity and biotic pressures in the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area—an eco development approach. FREEP-GHNP 03/10. Wildlife Institute of India, DehradunGoogle Scholar
  35. Wilcove DS, Rothstein D, Dubow J, Phillips A, Losos E (1998) Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States. Bioscience 48:607–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations