International Journal of
Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-243X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJBC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 678

Full Length Research Paper

Habitat preference and distribution of Himalayan Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) in Ilam, Eastern Nepal

Pratik BHATTARAI
  • Pratik BHATTARAI
  • Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara Campus, Pokhara 33700, Nepal.
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Bikesh JOJIJU
  • Bikesh JOJIJU
  • Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara Campus, Pokhara 33700, Nepal.
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Bibek GYAWALI
  • Bibek GYAWALI
  • Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara Campus, Pokhara 33700, Nepal.
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Bijaya NEUPANE
  • Bijaya NEUPANE
  • Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara Campus, Pokhara 33700, Nepal.
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Rabin Bahadur K. C.
  • Rabin Bahadur K. C.
  • Biodiversity Conservation Society, Nepal.
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  •  Received: 19 February 2024
  •  Accepted: 27 March 2024
  •  Published: 30 April 2024

Abstract

In Nepal, red panda has been sparsely studied, although its range covers a wide geographical area. The current study was conducted in two community forests of Ilam district with the objective of examining the present distributional status and determining the habitat utilization of the species. Extensive field surveys were conducted to estimate species distribution by presence-absence of the species in the study site. Primary data was recorded from 12 transects during the field survey. The study revealed uneven distribution of red panda in the study site that may be due to the altitudinal and geographic variations, availability of food sources, bamboo cover and distance to water resources. The logistic regression model demonstrated the presence of bamboo, elevation, and above ground biomass the significant determinants associated with red panda habitat. We recorded the presence of red panda within the elevation range of 2200 to 2600 m.a.s.l. in broad-leaved mixed forest with abundant bamboo in the understory at our study site. Mass flowering and die-off of bamboo, landslides and anthropogenic threats like livestock grazing, and ringal bamboo cutting, were found to be the serious threat associated with red panda habitat. The study strongly recommends conservation managers, policy makers and concerned stakeholders to mitigate the existing threats and human-induced activities on the red panda habitat.

 

Key words:  Bamboo, conservation, disturbance, habitat management, threats, water.