Protecting wild canids, hyenas can help expand conservation enterprise: Study

Protecting wild dogs or dholes, jackals, wolves, foxes and hyenas offers “incredible potential” to expand the conservation enterprise in India, a new study has found.

Scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society–India, University of Florida (USA), Ashoka Trust for Ecology and the Environment, Wildlife Conservation Trust, National Centre for Biological Sciences, and James Cook University (Australia) found that though India’s focus on large carnivore conservation has mostly centred on forested national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, the non-protected areas support many carnivores representing “unique and under- valued” habitats and ecosystems.

The paper, titled “Opportunities for prioritising and expanding conservation enterprise in India using a guild of carnivores as flagships,” has been published in the international scientific journal, Environmental Research Letters.

According to a release, the scientists undertook a multi-pronged approach to gather information on wild canids (dhole, golden jackal, Indian wolf, Tibetan wolf, Indian fox, red fox, desert fox, Tibetan fox) and striped hyenas across India using citizen-science surveys, social media and literature surveys.

Combining these with statistical models to map their distribution patterns, the authors conducted a prioritisation analysis and identified taluks/ tehsils across the country that need to be protected as ‘Canid Conservation Units’ to save wild canids, hyenas and their habitats.

The findings suggest that States like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, which rank high on the priority scale, should invest efforts towards conserving these carnivores and their habitats, the release said.

“Our assessment focuses on hitherto overlooked carnivores of India, which represent some of the most imperilled habitats like grasslands, scrublands, open barren lands, deserts and ravines. The study also combines ecological requirements of these carnivores, with human population densities, poverty levels, budgetary allocations by states for forest/wildlife conservation, and potentially detrimental infrastructure projects,” Arjun Srivathsa, the lead author of the study, was quoted as saying in the release.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 11:55:04 PM |

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