Effect Of Changing Habitat On Indian Gazelle
Wildlife Institute Of India
Sunanda Sharma, Dr. Surendra Prakash Goyal, Dr. Sumit Dookia
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
In arid landscape the land use/land cover pattern are on ever change. Here, Indian gazelle are generally found outside PA’s in close vicinity of human habitation. I addressed the question that is there any effect of human modification to landscape on the ecology of Indian gazelle?I investigated this effect on their behaviour, group characteristics and forage resource selection.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
During winter season, distinct Indian gazelle groups (N=36) were studied across four different habitat types varying in vegetation structure and proximity to water source.Social Structure: Direct observation through binoculars. Kruskal-Wallis test for group composition differences across habitats.Time-activity budget: Scan and focal sampling (Altman 1974).Forage abundance: Nested plot vegetation sampling on line transect.Forage composition: Microhistological technique (Pellet groups (N=40)) (Holecheck et al. 1982).Forage availability and utilization: Compositional analysis (Aebischer et al. 1993).
Results: What are your most important results?
Forage resource is major driver of behaviour and group structure but proximity to water too regulate it in arid ecosystem. Out of four habitats, Fallow land more than 3 years had largest group size and Scrub area had smallest. Behaviour analysis revealed fine variation among individual age-sex categories which simultaneously varied with foraging resource availability in the habitat.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
Indian gazelle group structure and behaviour patterns are influenced by variation in forage resource and water in habitat. Human modified habitats were found as important refuge for them in my study, and hence should be accounted while prioritising conservation needs. Human-wildlife coexistence is certainly a viable trade off in areas where people are tolerant and protective towards the latter.