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All about owl diet 

A Technical Manual on Identification of Prey Remains from Owl Pellets in Central India

By Prachi Mehta, Shyamkant Talmale, Jayant Kulkarni and Vaishnavi Kulkarni

Owls are some of the most specialised avian predators in the world. Their powerful vision, strong talons, and silent flight, makes them highly accomplished predators. Owls are versatile hunters and feed on a variety of live prey, including small mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and invertebrates. Owls consume their prey whole, and eject the undigested parts such as fur, feather, claws, talons, and invertebrate exoskeleton, in the form of a pellet. The regurgitated pellet offers valuable information on the foraging ecology of the owls. Identification of various prey items provides insights into dietary habits of owls. It can provide information on regional and seasonal variation in owl diet. Most usefully, it can provide information on differences in diet composition between species. In this manual, we provide systematic keys to identify prey remains of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, commonly found in the regurgitated pellets of owls. The manual provides photographic identification keys to five prey taxa commonly found in owl pellets. This is the first manual of its kind in India. An early version of this manual was released in the World Owl Conference held at Pune in December 2019. The manual includes forewords by well-known owl ecologists, Dr. David Johnson and Dr. Bruce Marcot, and has been meticulously reviewed by Dr. James Duncan. We are hopeful that this manual will prove to be a useful resource for researchers studying the diet of raptors and small carnivores in Central India.

Please click on the button below if you want a copy of the book. After submitting the Google form you will be taken to a link where you can download the PDF file of the book.

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There's many a way to Keep the Elephant Away 

A Review of Crop Protection and Elephant Management Techniques

By Prachi Mehta, Jayant Kulkarni and Uma Athale

Communities living in the proximity of elephant landscapes face daily challenges in terms of protecting their crops from elephants. Elephants find agricultural crops irresistible. No wonder that farmers find it difficult to keep elephants away from their crop fields. To cope with this problem farmers, elephant scientists, and wildlife managers in Asia and Africa, have come up with a variety of techniques to keep the giant at bay. These solutions range from simple common-sense solutions to those using advanced technology. This book describes, in simple terms, a wide range of techniques and solutions that people have come up with, to protect agricultural crops from elephants. Each section describes one technique. We have also pointed out the pros and cons of each technique, so that you can make an informed decision on which one you should use. The last two chapters are devoted to more general elephant management issues. We hope this book makes it easier for people and elephants to live together in the same landscape.  

Please click on the button below if you want a copy of the book. After submitting the Google form you will be taken to a link where you can download the PDF file of the book.

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Living on the edge: Insights into habitat patterns of forest-dwelling mammals in the buffer zone of Melghat Tiger Reserve, India

By Pavan Chikkanarayanaswamy, Jayant Kulkarni, Prasad Pathak 

Buffer zones surrounding protected areas act as interfaces between humans and wildlife, providing sustainable resource utilization while minimizing negative interactions. This study analyzed data from camera trap sampling to understand habitat use and the effects of anthropogenic impacts on medium and large-sized forest-dwelling mammals in the buffer zone of Melghat Tiger Reserve in Central India. The human population in this region is increasing at a rate of 15 % in a decade. There are instances of human death and injury and frequent cattle lifting by carnivores. Crop damage by wild herbivores is common. These factors impede long term conservation goals in the tiger reserve. Camera trap sampling was carried out in the buffer zone for a period of 33 to 46 days. Camera trap data were analyzed using occupancy modeling to estimate habitat use probability (Ψ) and detection probability (p). Naïve estimates of habitat use ranged from 0.11 to 0.64, while Ψ values based on occupancy modeling ranged from 0.23 to 0.71. The study showed a fairly high level of habitat use by mammals in the buffer zone of the tiger reserve. Leopards were found to be associated with abundance of large prey species and human presence. Hyena, gaur, and sambar showed an association with forest cover, while nilgai showed association with scrubland. Chausingha and langur showed an association with sloping terrain. Overall, the study showed that the buffer zone plays an important role as a wildlife habitat and provided insights for prioritizing conservation efforts and management strategies in the study area.

Link to download the paper

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