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Habitat occupancy of sloth bear Melursus ursinus in Chitwan National Park, Nepal
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  • Rajan Paudel,
  • Rabin Kadariya,
  • Babu Ram Lamichhane,
  • Naresh Subedi,
  • Mariko Sashika,
  • Michito Shimozuru,
  • Toshio Tsubota
Rajan Paudel
Hokkaido University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Rabin Kadariya
National Trust for Nature Conservation
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Babu Ram Lamichhane
National Trust for Nature Conservation
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Naresh Subedi
National Trust for Nature Conservation
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Mariko Sashika
Hokkaido University
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Michito Shimozuru
Hokkaido University
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Toshio Tsubota
Hokkaido University
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Mammals around the world face serious threats and experience massive decline in their populations and geographic ranges. The sloth bear has become extinct from two of five range countries and the existing population face serious conservation threats. Despite being endangered in Nepal, decades of conservation obliviousness have hindered their conservation and management. We assessed the distribution and habitat use by sloth bears in relation to landscape, environmental, and anthropogenic factors in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. We conducted a sign survey from March-June 2020 in 4*4 km2 grids (n=45) in a checkerboard approach. An observation was spatially replicated four times by recording information in four continuous search trails of 1 km each. We recorded presence/absence of sloth bears, termites, fruits and disturbance in the field and extracted information on tree cover, terrain ruggedness and vegetation index from remotely sensed image of the study area. The data was analyzed using single species-single season occupancy method in PRESENCE software. By using repeated observations these models account for imperfect detectability of species to provide robust estimates of species occupancy. Averaged habitat occupancy estimate obtained from the best models was Ѱ = 0.53 ± 0.04SE with detection probability p = 0.44 ± 0.1SE. Selection of variable based on summed AIC weight from the top models (AIC<2) showed that presence of termites (ƩWi=0.66) significantly influenced sloth bear habitat occupancy. Habitat occupancy was positively influenced by termites followed by fruits, disturbance, terrain ruggedness and vegetation productivity, whereas, it was negatively influenced by tree cover. We suggest that future conservation interventions and action plans aimed at sloth bear management must adequately consider these requirements and issues.
10 Aug 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
13 Aug 2021Submission Checks Completed
13 Aug 2021Assigned to Editor
24 Aug 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
26 Sep 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
27 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
19 Dec 20211st Revision Received
20 Dec 2021Submission Checks Completed
20 Dec 2021Assigned to Editor
20 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Jan 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
02 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
14 Feb 20222nd Revision Received
14 Feb 2022Submission Checks Completed
14 Feb 2022Assigned to Editor
14 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Mar 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 3. 10.1002/ece3.8699