Predicting Suitable Habitats Of Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin In Assam, India

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Predicting Suitable Habitats Of Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin In Assam, India

Authors

Sarma, K.; C, M. K.; Boro, B. K.; Saikia, M. K.; Sarania, B.; Basumatary, H.; Saikia, B. P.; Saikia, P. K.

Abstract

Chinese pangolin is a least known species in terms of its ecology and population status in India. The present study of Chinese pangolin in Kaziranga-Karbi-Anglong landscape aimed to gather information on species distribution and population status and also an account of threats of the species was investigated. A total of 24 occurrence points were collected from all over Assam and used to get a predictive potential distribution map for the species via Maxent and Random Forest models. To understand the knowledge level of the local people, a total of 13 villages in the north east boundary of North Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sactuary have been surveyed and 160 respondents were interviewed. The AUC values for the two models namely Maxent (0.736) and Random Forest (0.87) were different. Out of the six environmental parameters chosen, the altitude clarified the maximum variation in the model (62 %) followed by the seasonal temperature (bio4; 19.6 %) in the Maxent model. At the same time, these two variables were also found to be of greater significance in the Random Forest model. The species has been least seen by most of the respondents in the last 10 years (43.7%). Most of the respondent of age class 18-24 years never saw a pangolin (82.5%) in the area which depict the population decline of the species. Scales were the most used body parts for traditional medicine (58.8%) especially for excessive saliva secretion in children. The resultant potential habitat in the predictive distribution map in Assam needs to be confirmed with ground verification and accordingly inclusion in the priority conservation zone for Chinese pangolin in Assam should be done.

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