Vol. 59, 2020
(update: 2020.03.16; 04.14)
Blue Sheep Resource Selection in Alpine Grasslands of a Western Himalayan Landscape – A Point Process Approach
Ankita Bhattacharya1, Nilanjan Chatterjee1, Gopal Singh Rawat1, and Bilal Habib1,*
Department of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Wildlife
Institute of India, Chandrabani, Dehradun-248001, Uttarakhand, India.
*Correspondence: Tel: +01352646283. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Habib)
Received 4 September2019 / Accepted 9
knowledge of distribution and factors influencing it is important for
species conservation and management. Many forms of such data have led
to the development of new analytical techniques for better
interpretation. For mountainous terrains with certain limitations,
species data are obtained in the presence-only form. The point process
model is one of the recent approaches for modelling such data, taking
care of pseudo-absences and spatial independence. For conservation in
regions with limited resources and species with similar
requirements, it is important to properly assess the extent of
competition extent between wild and domestic species. We attempted to
use point process framework to estimate the function of resource
selection in blue sheep (Pseudois
nayaur) in areas influenced by
pastoralism in a western Himalayan region. Our study is the first
attempt to use this framework to estimate resource selection on a
dataset not collected using radio-telemetry. Spatial locations of blue
sheep and livestock and a background sample of random points with six
topographic covariates were used to model resource selection
probability via intensity function. Blue sheep showed its predicted
presence in areas with open vegetation coinciding with alpine meadows,
influenced by southern aspect keeping a threshold distance of 600–1000
m from cliffs (escape terrain). Livestock, also showed presence
probability in open vegetation, but at lower altitudes, mainly on
valley floors. Our results suggest that though blue sheep continued to
use the same habitat type after livestock arrival, they selected
different resources based on topographic factors. Livestock were in
areas where it was convenient for pastoralists to establish campsites
and where nutritious grasses were present, making it feasible to graze.
Thus, we argue that the probable shift in habitat for blue sheep from
optimal areas occurs due to livestock presence, which might disturb
their nutritional balance. Our study provides helpful insights for
managing rangelands, which when tied with dietary patterns will give a
better idea for proper conservation measures in the future.
Key words: Uttarakhand, Johar valley, Pastoralism, Pseudois nayaur, Mountain ungulates.
Citation: Bhattacharya A, Chatterjee N,
Rawat GS, Habib B. 2020. Blue sheep resource selection in alpine
grasslands of a western Himalayan landscape – a point process approach.
Zool Stud 59:11.