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Response of the Endangered red panda Ailurus fulgens fulgens to anthropogenic disturbances, and its distribution in Phrumsengla National Park, Bhutan

  • Pema Dendup (a1), Ellen Cheng (a2), Choki Lham (a1) and Ugyen Tenzin (a1)

Across much of Asia protected areas have a dual objective of conserving biodiversity and supporting rural and indigenous livelihoods. For the red panda Ailurus fulgens and other sensitive species of concern, even limited anthropogenic disturbance may influence their use of protected areas. We quantified the prevalence of timber collection and livestock grazing, and their impacts on red panda habitat use, in Phrumsengla National Park, Bhutan. Red pandas used sites with at least 20% bamboo cover, as evidenced by presence of their faecal pellets. They avoided sites disturbed by livestock, regardless of bamboo availability. Timber collection itself was not an important predictor of red panda presence but bamboo may be harvested opportunistically from sites where timber is collected. Conservation efforts for the red panda should not rely on protected areas alone but should explicitly consider and mitigate impacts of anthropogenic disturbances in protected areas.

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Also at: Jigme Dorji National Park, Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Bhutan

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