Population and Distribution of Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) in Lamtang National Park of the Nepal Himalaya
Hemitragus jemlahicus in Lamtang National Park of the Nepal Himalaya
Keywords:Habitat, Himalayan Tahr, Lamtang Valley, Prey Base, Predators
The Himalayan ecosystems, which are among the least studied mountain ecosystems, face threats and habitat degradation due to unplanned development, natural calamities, and overgrazing. Ungulates like Himalayan tahrs (Hemitragus jemlahicus), play a crucial role in mountain ecology as it forms the major prey base of the top predators of mountain ecosystems. Objective: To explore the population status, distribution, and habitat uses of Himalayan tahrs in Lamtang National Park (LNP), Central Nepal by line transect method during May 2022. Methods: Total 20 transects each of about 500 m length were established randomly along the Lamtang River at different elevations from 3100m to 4300m and Himalayan tahrs were observed. Results: A total of 154 Himalayan tahrs were recorded from 9 herds that accounted for an average herd size of 17.1 ± 5.77 individuals. The elevational distribution of the herds ranged between 3107 m and 4200 m asl. Their preferred habitat was rocky cliffs, with grasslands, shrublands, and rhododendron-fir-mixed forests being utilized to a lesser extent. The tahrs predominantly inhabited rugged terrain on south-facing slopes, prioritizing it over other available habitats. Conclusions: The demographic indices of the Himalayan tahrs in the LNP show a remarkable decline when compared with the previous studies in the same area in 1976 and 2006. Therefore, conservation and management initiatives of the Himalayan tahrs are urgently needed in the LNP
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