Wolves in National Parks and Protected Areas
Wangchuck Centennial National Park
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[HTML] Livestock depredation by snow leopard and Tibetan wolf: Implications for herders’ livelihoods in Wangchuck Centennial National Park, Bhutan
Y Jamtsho, O Katel – Pastoralism, 2019 – pastoralismjournal.springeropen …
Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a serious problem in many parts of the world, and Bhutan’s Wangchuck Centennial National Park (WCNP) is no exception. Located in the remote alpine areas of the eastern Himalaya, wildlife species such as snow leopard (SL) and Tibetan wolf (TW) are reported to kill livestock in many parts of the Park. Such depredation is believed to have affected the livelihoods of high-altitude herding communities, resulting in conflicts between them. This study provides analysis on the extent of livestock depredation by wildlife predators such as SL and TW and examines its implications for the livelihoods of herding communities of Choekhortoe and Dhur regions of WCNP. Using semi-structured questionnaires, all herders (n = 38) in the study area were interviewed. The questions pertained to livestock population, frequency of depredation and income lost due to depredation in the last five years from 2012 to 2016. This study recorded 2,815 livestock heads in the study area, with an average herd size of 74.1 stock. The average herd size holding showed a decreasing trend over the years, and one of the reasons cited by the herders is depredation by SL and TW and other predators. This loss equated to an average annual financial loss equivalent to 10.2% (US$837) of their total per capita cash income. Such losses have resulted in negative impacts on herders’ livelihood; e.g. six herders (2012-2016) even stopped rearing livestock and resorted to an alternate source of cash income. The livestock intensification programmes, including pasture improvement through allowing controlled burning, and financial compensation, may be some potential short-term solutions to reduce conflict between herders and predators. Issuing permits for cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) collection only to the herders and instilling the sense of stewardship to highland herders may be one of the long-term solutions.
Snow leopards have been reported to kill livestock in most parts of their range but the extent of this predation and its impact on local herders is poorly understood.There has been even no effort inlookingat predator-prey relationships and often we make estimates of prey needs based on studies from neighboring regions. Therefore this study is aimed at analysing livestock depredation, diets of snow leopard and Tibetanwolf and its implication to herder’s livelihood in Choekhortoe and Dhur region of Wangchuck Cetennial National Park. Data on the livestock population, frequency of depredation, and income lost were collected from a total of 38 respondents following census techniques.In addition scats were analysed to determine diet compositionand prey preferences. The results showed 38 herders rearing 2815 heads of stock with average herd size of 74.07 stockswith decreasing trend over the years due to depredation. As a result Choekhortoe lost 8.6% while Dhur lost 5.07% of total annual income. Dietary analysis showed overlap between two species indicated by Pianka index valueof 0.83 for Dhur and 0.96 for Choekhortoe. The prey preference for snow leopard and Tibetanwolf are domestic sheep and blue sheep respectively, where domestic sheep is an income for herders and blue sheep is important for conservation of snow leopard. Thisstudy therefore indicates potential effects of both herder’s livelihoods and prefer diet (blue sheep) of carnivore species. It concludes that the livestockdepredation in WCNP is a serious issue which needs to be addressed through appropriate compensation and/or other conservation strategies to reconcile biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development. This is the first results of its kind, so data from seasonal variation covering spatial andtemporal extend is highly recommended to determine the possible variation.
Climate change and potential impacts on agriculture in Bhutan: a discussion of pertinent issues. Chhogyel N, Kumar L. Agriculture & Food Security. 2018 Dec
The Himalayan country of Bhutan is typically an agrarian country with about 57% of the people depending on agriculture. However, farming has been constrained by the mountainous topography and rapid changes in environmental variabilities. With climate change, agricultural production and food security is likely to face one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. The country has already been experiencing some impacts of climate change, such as crop loss to unusual outbreaks of diseases and pests, erratic rainfalls, windstorms, hail storms, droughts, flash floods and landslides annually.
Impact of climate change on Himalayan glaciers and glacial lakes: case studies on GLOF and associated hazards in Nepal and Bhutan. Bajracharya SR, Mool PK, Shrestha BR. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD); 2007
The global mean temperature is expected to increase between 1.4 to 5.8ºC over the next hundred years. The consequences of this change in global climate are already being witnessed in the Himalayas where glaciers and glacial lakes are changing at alarming rates.Himalayan glaciers are retreating at rates ranging from 10 to 60m per year and many small glaciers (<0.2 sq.km) have already disappeared. Our study shows that the terminus of most of the high altitude valley glaciers in Bhutan, China, and Nepal are retreating very fast; vertical shifts as great as 100m have been recorded during the last fifty years and retreat rates of 30m per year are common. As glaciers retreat, glacial lakes grow, and many Himalayan basins are reporting very fast growing lakes. A remarkable example is Lake Imja Tsho in the Dudh Koshi sub-basin (Khumbu–Everest region); while this lake was virtually nonexistent in 1960, it now covers nearly 1 sq.km and the Imja glacier which feeds it is retreating at an unprecedented 74m per year (between 2001 and 2006). Similar observations were made in the Pho Chu basin of the Bhutan Himalaya, where the change in size of some glacial lakes has been as high as 800 per cent over the past 40 years. At present, several supraglacial ponds on the Thorthormi glacier are growing quickly and merging. These lakes pose a threat because of their proximity to other large glacial lakes in the Pho Chu sub-basin where, in a worst-case glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) scenario, they could cascade on to these other lakes with catastrophic consequences.The study stresses the importance of methodologies used to assess glacier retreat, the expansion of glacial lakes and the impact of GLOFs. The hydrological modelling of glacial lakes, terrain classification, and vulnerability assessment are important scientific means to understand GLOF impacts. They help in devising mitigation measures and early warning systems. A dam-breach model developed by the National Weather Services (NWS-BREACH) was used to simulate the outburst hydrographs of Lakes Imja Tsho in Nepal and Raphstreng Tso in Bhutan. The model provides information on discharge and flood arrival time indownstream areas. Based on observations of damage caused by the Dig Tsho GLOF of 1985, the vulnerability of various terrain units in the vicinity of a possible Imja Tsho GLOF was assessed. This terrain classification scheme provided valuable information on the possible extent of the damage to be expected in the event of an Imja Tsho GLOF. The vulnerability analysis in the Imja and Dudh Koshi valleys indicated that the upper terrace of the Syomare village as well as lower terraces identified in Ghat, Chutawa, Chermading, Phakding, Benkar, Tawa, and Jorsalle villages couldbe severely damaged by a GLOF event at Lake Imja Tsho. GLOF mitigation measures and early warning systems applied in the Nepal and BhutanHimalayas are also discussed. Such techniques are quite expensive and require much detailed field-work and maintenance, an alternative, which is being considered in a feasibilitystudy, is regular temporal monitoring of glacial lakes by RADAR satellite-based techniques todetect any changes and provide an early warning.