Habitat Suitability Modelling of Endangered Kashmir Grey Langur (Semnopithecus ajax) in North Kashmir, India
Zaffar Rais Mir1*, Junid Nazeer Shah2, Riyaz Ahmad3, Khursheed Ahmad1, Athar Noor4, Intesar Suhail5.
1Division of Wildlife Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology- Kashmir, 190025, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
2Natural Resources Conservation Section, Environment Department, Dubai Municipality, Dubai.
3Wildlife Trust of India, Noida, India,201301.
4Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Uttarakhand India, 248007.
5Department of Wildlife Protection Jammu and Kashmir, India, 190001.
The Kashmir Grey Langur (Semnopithecus ajax), distributed along some parts of Pakistan, Nepal and India, is endangered  mainly due to habitat loss. Its distribution limits are still uncertain and need to be resolved in order to determine its true conservation status. Here, we studied the distribution and the status of this threatened species in North Kashmir, India (Area ~ 10000 km2). From April to July 2016, we surveyed several protected and non-protected forests to collect primary as well as secondary information pertaining to distribution and threats of Kashmir Grey Langur. Program ‘Maxent’ was used for modelling and mapping the current distributional range of the langur in North Kashmir. Rainfall, elevation, slope, aspect, human foot print and other climatic variables were used as environmental layers for running ‘Maxent’. Best model was selected on the basis of highest AUC value. Results indicated that Kashmir Grey Langur is distributed in all the protected areas of North Kashmir including some non protected areas with encounter rates ranging from 0.21 to 5.67 individuals/km. Langur probability distribution map was produced using presence point data and environmental variable raster data in the ‘Maxent’ program. The predictive map indicated probability values ranging from 0.0 – 0.87, indicating different levels of habitat suitability and hence different langur presence probabilities. Based on these considerations, we propose the extension of present distributional range of langur to Kashmir Valley.
Key Words: Maxent, Langur distribution, Habitat suitability, Predictive modeling.
1. IUCN (2017) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. http://www.iucnredlist.org/. Accessed 24 December 2017