Spatial Dynamics and Ecology of Large Ungulate Populations in Tropical Forests of India

N. Samba Kumar, K. Ullas Karanth, James D. Nichols, Srinivas Vaidyanathan, Beth Gardne, Jagdish Krishnaswamy  | 2020


Large ungulates in tropical forests are among the most threatened taxa of mammals. Excessive hunting, degradation of and encroachments on their natural habitats by humans have contributed to drastic reductions in wild ungulate populations in recent decades. As such, reliable assessments of ungulate-habitat relationships and the spatial dynamics of their populations are urgently needed to provide a scientific basis for conservation efforts. However, such rigorous assessments are methodologically complex and logistically difficult, and consequently many commonly used ungulate population survey methods do not address key problems. As a result of such deficiencies, key parameters related to population distribution, abundance, habitat ecology and management of tropical forest ungulates remain poorly understood.

This book addresses this critical knowledge gap by examining how population abundance patterns in five threatened species of large ungulates vary across space in the tropical forests of the Nagarahole-Bandipur reserves in southwestern India. It also explains the development and application of an innovative methodology – spatially explicit line transect sampling – based on an advanced hierarchical modelling under the Bayesian inferential framework, which overcomes common methodological deficiencies in current ungulate surveys. The methods and results presented provide valuable reference material for researchers and professionals involved in studying and managing wild ungulate populations around the globe.