Distribution and habitat preference of the Red Panda in Lamtang National Park of Nepal
Keywords:Ailurus fulgens, Bamboo species, Conservation, Threats, Vegetation structure
The study was carried out in Ghyangphedi Buffer Zone area of Lamtang National Park (LNP), Nepal. The objectives of this study were to identify habitat type, draw a distribution map of Red panda, and know its conservation threats in Ghyangphedi, Lamtang National Park. Circular plots with a radius of 10m were taken for vegetation composition and intensity of human disturbances. The 5m x 5m within 10m radius circular plots were taken for shrubs and bamboo. A simple random sampling method was used. The presence of red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) was recorded in two blocks (Fedi and Tharepati) of LNP Ghangphedi buffer zone area. The results showed that depending on the faecal pellet group, red pandas appeared at altitudes of 2,900 to 3,600 meters, and the abundance of pellets increased to 3,300 meters and decreased rapidly at higher elevations. This population of red pandas prefered a mostly mixed coniferous forest with a cool broadleaved forest and a bluepine forest. The mixed coniferous forest was dominated by Abies pindrow, Tsuga domosa, Acer campbellii with Symplocos sp, Rhododendron sp(s), Daphene bholua and bamboo undergrowth. The presence signs of the red panda were observed within 670 meters from the water sources. The bamboo species found at the study site were Drepanostachyum arundinariarecemosa, Drepanostachyum intermedium and Arundinaria falcata. The results showed that the maximum presence signs were observed close to the Arundinaria falcata. The collection of grass, timber, and bamboo was anthropogenic hazards.
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