Research Associate, High Altitudes
M.Sc. Environment Management, Forest Research Institute University, Dehradun
B.Sc. Zoology (H), University of Calcutta, Kolkata
My broad research interests lie in distribution patterns of large mammals, ecological-social-cultural determinants of species persistence in a landscape, co-occurrence-competition dynamics, impact of socio-economic development and resource extraction/use in wildlife rich areas, interactions and impact of non-native species on native wildlife and human-wildlife interactions and/or conflict. I am particularly interested in the high altitude landscapes of the Himalaya and Trans-Himalaya, although tropical ecosystems intrigue me equally.
I am currently involved in research on high altitude mammals. I am trying to understand at multiple scales how snow leopard and its primary prey bharal and Asiatic ibex are distributed in the Himalaya and Trans-Himalaya ranges of Himachal Pradesh and what affects their distribution. At a finer scale, I am looking at how migratory livestock grazing impacts vegetation and wild-prey of snow leopard. My previous works include surveying northern Himachal for understanding occurrences of snow leopard and its prey using secondary information. For my M.Sc. dissertation I looked at how a commensal species, red fox, responds towards village size and free-ranging dog.
- Journal Article2017Snow Leopard, Ecology and Conservation Issues in IndiaResonance, Indian Academy of Sciences, DOI 10.1007/s12045-017-0511-0Download
PDF, 704 KB
Snow leopard, an elusive mammal species of the cat family, is the top-predator of the Central and South Asian, highaltitude ecosystem. Snow leopards occur at low densities across the Central Asian mountains and the Indian Himalayan region. Owing to their secretive nature and inaccessible habitat, little is known about its ecology and distribution. Due to its endangered status and high aesthetic value, the snow leopard is considered as an ‘umbrella species’ for wildlife conservation in the Indian Himalayas. This article summarizes the current knowledge on snow leopard ecology and conservation issues in the Indian context.
- Journal Article2016Response of the red fox to expansion of human habitation in the Trans-Himalayan mountainsEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research, 62: 131-136, DOI 10.1007/s10344-015-0967-8Download
PDF, 4.05 MB
Habitat modification through rural and urban expansions negatively impacts most wildlife species. However, anthropogenic food sources in habitations can benefit certain species. The red fox Vulpes vulpes can exploit anthropogenic food, but human subsidies sometimes also sustain populations of its potential competitor, the free-ranging dog Canis familiaris. As human habitations expand, populations of free-ranging dog are increasing in many areas, with unknown effects on wild commensal species such as the red fox. We examined occurrence and diet of red fox along a gradient of village size in a rural mountainous landscape of the Indian Trans-Himalaya. Diet analyses suggest substantial use of anthropogenic food (livestock and garbage) by red fox. Contribution of livestock and garbage to diet of red fox declined and increased, respectively, with increasing village size. Red fox occurrence did not show a clear relationship with village size. Red fox occurrence showed weak positive relationships with density of free-ranging dog and garbage availability, respectively, while density of free-ranging dog showed strong positive relationships with village size and garbage availability, respectively. We highlight the potential conservation concern arising from the strong positive association between density of free-ranging dog and village size.
- Popular Article2016Large mammals of the HimalayaThe Himalayan Journal, Volume 71Download
PDF, 708 KB
Introducing large mammals of the Himalaya and conservation issues as part of collaboration between High Altitude Program and the Himalayan Journal.
- Conference Proceedings2016Impact of migratory livestock grazing on rangeland vegetation and wild-ungulate in the Indian Trans-Himalaya6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates & 5th International Symposium on Mouflon
- Popular Article2016The silence of the lambsCaravan, AprilDownload
PDF, 1.41 MB
A migratory herder in Pin Valley, Himachal Pradesh, goes into a new area with his flock of sheep-goat in search of pasture. Everything was going fine, but then, suddenly, he lost 10-15 of his sheep. How did he and other fellow herders solve the weird challenge of mysterious death of sheep?
- Dataset2016Data from: Response of the red fox to expansion of human habitation in the Trans-Himalayan mountainshttp://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5hs50
- Book Chapter2016South Asia: India. In Snow leopards. Biodiversity of the world: conservation from genes to landscapes. Series editor: Philip J. Nyhus, Volume editors: Thomas McCarthy, David Mallon.Elsevier - Academic Press, Pages 457-469, ISBN: 978-0-12-802213-9Download
PDF, 4.31 MB
India has a rich natural history record from the Himalaya spanning over a century. In this paper we provide an overview of existing knowledge on snow leopard, especially from the more recent studies. A knowledge gap analysis revealed barely 3% of its range is relatively well studied, although snow leopards occur pervasively across ca. 100,000 km2 in the Indian Himalaya. Only 37% of its range appears to be ‘good’ habitat. Based on recent density estimates and their extrapolation over the range, India is likely to support about 500 snow leopards. Threats vary regionally, but livestock grazing by migratory herders and recent developmental pressures appear to be the most serious conservation issues threatening snow leopard and other wildlife in the snow leopard range. Given the pervasive snow leopard occurrence and human pressures, the general consensus and national strategy is to formulate and implement knowledge based, participatory programmes over large landscapes.
- Popular Article2015Natural history on the rocksSaevus, January issueDownload
PDF, 5.74 MB
Connecting rock art in the Trans-Himalayan Spiti Valley with natural history.
- Popular Article2015Living differently: combating climate change through unique adaptationSaevusDownload
PDF, 307 KB
The article explores how in extreme places, such as the Central and South Asian cold-desert, local communities are adapting to climatic challenges.
- Popular Article2015Pastures for noneSaevusDownload
PDF, 1.15 MB
The article explores the pivotal role played by pastures in livelihood of local and migratory communities of the Trans-Himalaya and wildlife.