Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Its time to move on: Preliminary insights into tiger dispersal using radio collars (#499)

Bilal Habib 1 , Pallavi Ghaskadbi 1 , Zehidul Hussain 1 , Parag Nigam 1
  1. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Uttrarakhand, India

Over the last few years, we have achieved increases in tiger populations as a result of suitable protection measures. Today, tigers are dispersing across the landscape dominated by human settlements in search of habitats and mates. The aim of our research is to understand the characteristics of dispersal that may aid policy making for tiger conservation in a landscape which is developing aggressively. FiveĀ tigers were radio-collared and monitored for extensive movement across the landscape. The inter-fix intervals of the collars were 5 hours (inside PA) and 2 hours (outside PA). The radio-collared data for theĀ 5 tigers yielded a total of 3452 fixes. Out of the total locations, 64.94% were observed in non-PAs and only 35.05% were inside PAs. We also characterized the locations based on land use patterns and found that deciduous forests were used the most (52.47%) followed by areas of double/triple cropping (16.94%). The mean step length, i.e. the distance between two consecutive locations, varied significantly inside PAs and outside PAs (p=0.0034) for the dispersing individuals. We tested various models, including Brownian Bridge Model, First Passage Time and Bayesian Partitioning of Markov Model, to understand movement characteristics of the animals. Fine-scale telemetry data offers exciting opportunities to study dispersing tigers (movement patterns, behaviour, food habits, etc.), especially outside PAs. Movement ecology has opened up new avenues of research in tiger ecology and holds promise for influencing policy makers to make better informed decisions about corridor management and tigers in human dominated landscapes.