Current distribution and status of swamp deer Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelii in the upper Gangetic plains of north India

Shrutarshi Paul, Bivash Pandav, Dhananjai Mohan, Bilal Habib, Parag Nigam, Samrat Mondol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The swamp deer Rucervus duvaucelii is the largest grassland-dwelling endemic cervid of India and Nepal. With a declining population trend across its range, this species is found in fragmented habitats of northern, north-eastern and central India and south-western Nepal. The northern swamp deer subspecies Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelii occurs in small wetland patches across the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh in India and has lost most of its habitat in the last century. Information about the distribution of the swamp deer in the upper Gangetic plains is limited, except in the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve in Uttarakhand and around the Bijnor barrage area of Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh. We surveyed the upper Gangetic plains between the Reserve and the Sanctuary, including some adjoining areas and three tributaries of the Ganges, to assess the status of these habitats, current swamp deer distribution and the threats faced by the species. We found several areas harbouring swamp deer within non-protected wetlands along the entire surveyed stretch of the upper Ganges and a previously unreported population in Uttar Pradesh. We documented major threats including habitat conversion, livestock grazing, poaching, conflict and other anthropogenic disturbances. We recommend community driven conservation and management of Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelii in this fragmented landscape to ensure survival of this species and other threatened fauna of these wetlands and grasslands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-653
Number of pages8
JournalOryx
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve
  • Rucervus duvaucelii
  • habitat loss
  • poaching
  • swamp deer
  • upper Gangetic plains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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