Friday, August 7, 2009

PS 82-75: Human pressure and its impact on the distribution and conservation status of Red Panda in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Ram N. Kandel, Trichandra Multiple College, Ghantaghar, Kathmandu, Nepal and Hari P. Sharma, Tribhuvan University.

Background/Question/Methods A survey of Red Panda was carried out in three blocks namely Barse, Fagune and Surtibang of Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve (DHR) to establish baseline information of this species from March- May 2007. The distribution of Red Panda was assessed through informal discussions with local people, herders and reserve staff followed by the dropping survey. Using square quadrats of 10×10 m2 for trees and 4×4 m2 for shrubs were done to determine Important Value Index for vegetation analysis.
Results/Conclusions The study revealed the clumped type distribution pattern of Red Panda which was affected by different factors like presence of Arundinaria spp., north facing slope, water source availability, habitat condition, human activities, and livestock grazing. Altogether four Red Pandas were noticed and were identical in morphological characters. A correlation analysis of combined data on the distribution of Panda faecal pellets with elevation up to certain limit showed positive correlation. In the range of 3,200 to 3,500 m, the droppings of the Red Panda were more common than above or below the range where Abies, Rhododendron, Betula and Arundinaria were dominant. Red Panda most prefer northwest facing slope in the range 300 – 400 during the study period. A chi-square test performed showed that slope aspect differs with the distribution pattern of Red Panda. Because of the violence and insurgency, the management offices and check posts were transferred to the urban area. Illegal felling, looping, hunting, poaching and over exploitation were common during the study period.  About 160 traps were collected and hand over to the Reserve officials. Occasional death of Red Panda was also recorded in Dharkharka of Barse block. Summer huts for livestock was one of the main threats for the conservation of Red Panda in DHR.
Key Words:- Red Panda, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Distribution, Conservation threats, Livestock grazing, Poaching.