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Identifying suitable habitats for sloth bear conservation in Eastern India

Mardaraj, P. C., Panda, A., Pirie, T. J., Sethy, J. and Fellowes, M. D. E. ORCID: (2023) Identifying suitable habitats for sloth bear conservation in Eastern India. Nature Croatica, 32 (1). pp. 1-15. ISSN 1848-7386

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To link to this item DOI: 10.20302/NC.2023.32.1


Today, the most significant threats to mammal predators are habitat losses and anthropogenic pressure. Although sloth bears are widely distributed in India, there is still a risk of populations becoming fragmented and isolated. As a result of continuous habitat loss and degradation over the past century, sloth bear populations have steadily declined. They now exist only in isolated or fragmented habitats across the entire range. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a habitat suitability analysis to determine these areas. The modeling was carried out using the maximum entropy method (Maxent version 3.4.3, November 2020) with presence data collected from 230 sample areas in the Nilgiri wildlife range of Balasore, eastern India. The average training AUC for the replicate runs is 0.984. The model is also evaluated according to the receiver operating characteristic value and jackknife test. Environmental variables contributing to the model were BIO-12 (annual precipitation), BIO-11 (annual mean temperature), DEM (digital elevation model), although the contribution level of terrain ruggedness index (TRI), forest cover (FC), human impact index (HII) and LULC are also there in the model. We also establish that the environmental variable Bio 12 (66%) significantly affects the distribution pattern of sloth bears. In contrast, the forest cover (0.4%) has a more negligible effect on the distribution pattern. A habitat suitability map of the sloth bear was created following the modeling process, and the usability of the model and the map was evaluated for sloth bear management plans. The sloth bear is intensively distributed in the western part of the study area. To conclude, the sloth bear is a notable mammal species whose habitat must be preserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:111907
Publisher:Croatian Natural History Museum


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