Conservation and Environment in Nepal: Monthly Updates
Conservation project Nepal Bimonthly report for January/ February
Hi everyone and welcome to the New Year!
In December and January it started to get a little warmer. The mountains had some snowfall left on them and the mornings are clear but as the day progresses cloud increases. Within these months we carried out bird surveys, primate surveys and mammal surveys all by camera trapping.
Captured by the camera traps were barking deer (Muntiacini), Large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha), Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica) and we also captured birds such as Hill Partridge (Arborophila torqueola), Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos) and White Throated Laughing Thrush (Garrulax albogularis). We also identified two new bird species; Barred Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia unchall) and Great Parrot Bill (Conostoma oemodium).
We have done several bird surveys in the Ghandruk area using the McKinnon’s list method, to record the birds we see. McKinnon’s list involves us walking specified transect lines using a GPS to record our position and has 10 different species per page. In the Ghandruk area two new species of birds have been recorded, which are the Barred Cuckoo Dove and the Grey Capped Redstart (Chaimarrornis leucocephalus).
We went on a trip to Dobato also to do a bird survey were we also recorded a new species for the area, the Great Parrot Bill. While we in Dobato there was quite a bit of snow on the ground in some areas and it got pretty cold at night, which isn’t surprising since we were at 3426m above sea level.
The mammal survey involves us going into the forest and setting up camera traps. We set the camera traps 50 meters apart with 7 cameras in total. We do this survey in order to see what animals are in the area.
The cameras for the January-February period recorded several species including the common leopard, which we all got very excited about. We also saw an Indian Civet, plenty of Barking Deer and a couple of Leopard Cats. The cameras are put out for 2 weeks, and after one week we check the footage and then bring them in after the second week. During the time these cameras are out we do a habitat survey of the area, which involves us measuring tree Circumference at Breast Height (CBH), leaf litter depth, distance from a path, distance from a water source, grazing intensity (if any) and canopy cover.
These measurements are used to get an idea of the maturity of the forest and how much human interference is present. This data, in conjunction with the species presence data, can allow us see what animals are more at risk due to human presence or which species prefer more untouched isolated forest.
This new project began in the middle of December and the method was developed by our local partner ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) in order to get a better understanding of the issues involving the grey langur (Semnopithecus) and macaque (Macaca mulatta) who raid the local people’s crops. We want to try and find mitigation measures so the local people do not have to kill the primates.
The method involves walking three different transect lines: one on the forest agricultural boundary, one in secondary forest, and finally one in primary forest. The transect lines are walked by getting a start GPS coordinate, and then walking in as straight a line as possible towards Dansing which is roughly 5km away. Along the transect line we walk slowly and look for any sign of primate activity along the way. We record the number of adult males, adult females, and number of juveniles, as well as what stage of activity they were in i.e. if they were resting, grooming, feeding, or raiding crops for example.
I hope that all our volunteers had a good festive season, and I look forward to bringing you our next bi-monthly newsletter with exciting findings and project developments!