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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ecology and Conservation of Himalayan Wolf: Report

Bilal Habib, Shivam Shrotriya and Y. V. Jhala


Wolves in the trans-Himalaya of India and neighbouring countries are existing as small population facing numerous threat for their survival. Recent studies suggest that the wolves in this part of world are the oldest lineage and played important role in the evolution of modern day wolf-dog cald. Moreover, the distinction of these wolves is considerable to reconise them as a separate species. Almost no information pertaining their ecology was available and this project was initiated with an aim of generating basic information on the wolf of the Himalayas. Major objectives of the study were (1) to determine the status and distribution of the wolf in the Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan landscape of India, (2) to understand the level and pattern of human-wolf conflict, and (3) to identify the key areas of wolf presence for their conservation. We selected 17 high-altitude protected areas in three states of India, viz., Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, sharing the Trans-Himalayan landscape in India. Considering the rare records of wolf presence in scientific literature and the occasional reports of wolf-human conflict, conducting questionnaires was, therefore, adapted to cover the vast landscape in limited time duration. We developed customized indices for wolf-human conflict and wolf-presence to analyse the data collected during this survey. Distribution of the wolf in the Trans-Himalayan and Himalayan landscape falling within the three states was predicted by maximum entropy model using software MaxEnt. The range of habitat variables that limits their distribution was also estimated. Presence of wolf and the conflict level were estimated region-wise and state-wise and it helped in identifying the key areas of wolf conservation. Northern Kashmir valley, Leh and Changthang Wildlife sanctuary (WLS) in Ladakh and Kibber WLS in Himachal Pradesh are the prime areas of wolf presence. Although most of the wolf distribution is lying outside of existing protected area network and wolf conservation is dependent on management of these areas as well. A discrepancy in the nomenclature and identification of wolf populations in the region was found during the study. Is is of utmost importance to recognize any species and name it correctly to give an impetus to the conservation efforts. Therefore, a landscape level genetics study to sort out the issue regarding their nomenclature is also recommended.

Know more about the species and project from here.

Citation: Habib, B., Shrotriya, S. and Jhala, Y. V. (2013): Ecology and Conservation of Himalayan Wolf. Wildlife Institute of India – Technical Report No. TR – 2013/01, Pp 46.

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