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Habitat occupancy of carnivore species in a riverine forest

Muhammad Awais Rasool, Maqsood Anwar, Iftikhar Hussain

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.7(3), 261-270, September 2015

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Abstract

Present study was conducted to check the distribution and habitat occupancy of carnivore species in riverine forest of Dera Ghazi Khan Forest sub-division, covering 1400 km2 area during 2013-14. Direct observations and indirect signs were employed in seven selected sites on 52 fixed width transects which were seasonally surveyed (n=84) on foot and motor bike for observing carnivores using reference photographs and a field data sheet for each transect to record species signs and habitat type. Presence of five carnivore species was confirmed in the study including Asiatic Jackal (Canis aureus), Jungle Cat (Felis chaus), Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus), Bengal Fox (Vulpes bengalensis) and Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata). Relative frequency of signs for Asiatic Jackal was (0.459), followed by Jungle Cat (0.379), Small Indian Mongoose (0.116), Bengal Fox (0.031) and Smooth Coated Otter (0.013). Maximum sign density was found in site IV as 0.185. followed by site II (0.169), site VII (0.056), site I (0.048), site III (0.036), site VI (0.035) and 0.019 in site V. Seven habitat types were identified with highest species diversity in Grassland and Shrub land (five spp) followed by Forest and Crop land (four spp); three spp in Barren land and one species for Marsh land and Human habitation each. Sign observation points were plotted on map using GIS tool. Results showed that increasing human pressure, livestock grazing and change in land use pattern have adverse effect on habitat occupancy of these carnivore species.

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Habitat occupancy of carnivore species in a riverine forest

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