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Predicting the distribution of vulnerable fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus in Nepal
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  • Rama Mishra,
  • Hans de Iongh,
  • Herwig Leirs,
  • Babu Ram Lamichhane,
  • Naresh Subedi,
  • Shekhar Kolipaka
Rama Mishra
University of Antwerp
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Hans de Iongh
University of Antwerp Evolutionary Ecology Group
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Herwig Leirs
Universiteit Antwerpen Departement Biologie
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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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Shekhar Kolipaka
Leo Foundation
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Abstract

The fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus is a wetland specialist endemic to South and Southeast Asia. Nepal represents the northern limit of its biogeographic range, but comprehensive information on fishing cat distribution in Nepal is lacking. We compiled fishing cat occurrence records (n=154) from Nepal, available in published literature and unpublished data (2009 – 2020), to assess their distribution. Bioclimatic and environmental variables associated with their occurrence were used to predict the potential fishing cat range using MaxEnt modeling. Fishing cat distribution was influenced by elevation, precipitation of the warmest quarter (18_bio), precipitation of the driest month (14_bio) and land cover. Wetlands and forest cover were the important predictors of fishing cat distribution. The model predicted an area of 4.4% (6,679 km2) of Nepal as potential habitat for the fishing cat. About two third of the predicted potentially suitable habitat lies outside protected areas, however a large part of the highly suitable habitat (67%) falls within protected areas. The predicted habitat map serves as a reference for future investigation into fishing cat distribution as well as formulating and implementing effective conservation programs for fishing cats in Nepal. Fishing cat conservation initiatives should include habitats both inside and outside the protected areas to ensure long-term survival. We recommend conservation of wetland sites, surveys of fishing cats in the identified potential habitats, and study of their genetic connectivity and population status.
02 Aug 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
04 Aug 2021Submission Checks Completed
04 Aug 2021Assigned to Editor
26 Aug 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
08 Oct 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
12 Oct 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 Dec 20211st Revision Received
02 Dec 2021Submission Checks Completed
02 Dec 2021Assigned to Editor
02 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 Dec 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Jan 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
31 Jan 20222nd Revision Received
01 Feb 2022Assigned to Editor
01 Feb 2022Submission Checks Completed
01 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
22 Feb 20223rd Revision Received
22 Feb 2022Submission Checks Completed
22 Feb 2022Assigned to Editor
22 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 Mar 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
03 Mar 20224th Revision Received
03 Mar 2022Assigned to Editor
03 Mar 2022Submission Checks Completed
03 Mar 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Mar 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
18 Mar 20225th Revision Received
21 Mar 2022Assigned to Editor
21 Mar 2022Submission Checks Completed
21 Mar 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
02 Apr 2022Editorial Decision: Accept