Presentation cancelled by author

Mesopredator spatial and temporal response to large-predators and anthropogenic activities in a Central Indian Reserve

(Oral and Poster)

Nilanjan Chatterjee
Madhura Davate
Bilal Habib
Parag Nigam


The survival and long-term persistence of mammalian carnivores is a key conservation
challenge in developing countries like India. Many species of carnivores are forced to
inhabit unprotected human-dominated landscapes given the miniscule proportion of
land designated to protected areas. Differential human activity across a landscape
grossly influences the activity patterns of both predator and prey species, depending
on their degree of specialisation in feeding habits and habitat use. There lies a dearth
of studies addressing the spatio-temporal dynamics of large and meso-predators in
such disturbed landscapes. We conducted camera trap studies in dry deciduous
forests of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, Central India hypothesizing
that temporal and spatial partitioning among meso- and apex predators would be
affected across landscapes with differential anthropogenic activities. Motion-detecting
camera traps were systematically deployed across an area of 1700 following a
systematic grid sampling with a gradient of human use. Temporal activity overlap for
different species was calculated from photo-capture timings using non-parametric
kernel density distribution. We found that spatial and temporal partitioning between
apex-predators and meso-predators decreased with increase in difference in body
sizes. Tigers and leopards showed pronounced spatial partitioning. Dholes avoided
tigers through temporal segregation, their activity peaks following plummets in the
activity of the apex carnivore of this landscape. Species altered their activities
temporally at sites with higher human activities. This was reflected as higher temporal
overlap between the activities of predators at such locations. Results from our study
provide insights on the ecology of a spectrum of carnivore species varying markedly in
their body-sizes and feeding habits. Planning effective conservation strategies require
a holistic understanding of the spatio-temporal dynamics between large predators,
mesopredators and prey at multiple scales in the backdrop of varying anthropogenic
influences. Marking of prioritisation areas could facilitate persistence of carnivores in
this multi-use landscape.
1. Anthropogenic activity
2. Carnivore community
3. Niche separation