Habitat Use of Swamp Deer (Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelii) in Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Rachna Tewari, Gopal Singh Rawat

Abstract


We studied the seasonal variation in the habitat use pattern of swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelii) at Jhilmil Jheel (Uttarakhand, India). Swamp deer is categorized as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list. A small population of swamp deer (320 in number) was recently rediscovered in Uttarakhand state (in 2005) at Jhilmil Jheel. This population warranted a conservation initiative because the habitat around this study area is heavily fragmented due to expansion of agriculture, habitation and various other land use practices. The animals were observed from vantage points to record data on habitat utilization. In addition, relative abundance of swamp deer pellets was quantified in various areas to get an idea of relative use of habitat. The study reveals that swamp deer in Jhilmil Jheel prefer areas high in hydrophytes such as Typha which meet various cover requirements viz. food, hiding, fawning, rutting, basking, resting etc. Dense thickets of Phragmites karka were avoided during all seasons. In summers, sedge meadows are preferred for feeding, resting, wallowing, and drinking water.


Keywords


Cover; Directs Sightings; Habitat Selection; Pellet Groups; Typha sp.; Vegetation Types

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