Human-wildlife conflicts are escalating in Talala sub-district because of changing cropping pattern on the periphery of Gir National Park and Sanctuary (GNPS), Gujarat, India. Changes in agricultural practices and in human-wildlife conflicts in Talala were investigated. Sugarcane cultivation has increased by 87% and mango cultivation by 103% during the years from 1992 to 1999. Incidences of Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) and leopards (P. pardus) straying into agricultural land have increased by 55% and 46% respectively from 1997 to 1999. Significant correlations were found between the increases in sugarcane and mango cultivation and the number of straying lions (r = +0.827, df = 2) and leopards (r = +0.981, df = 2). Furthermore during the years 1992 to 1998 out of 11 lions rescued, eight (72%) were from farmland and out of 32 leopards rescued, ten (31%) were from farmland. Ten lions (91%) and five leopards (41%) were found dead in farmland from 1994 to 1999. The straying of big cats from the GNPS to adjacent farmland has also led to increased encounters with humans. Out of a total of 13 attacks on people by lions, ten were reported from areas of sugarcane and mango cultivation. Of the total 25 leopard attacks, 59% (including four deaths resulting from the attacks) were recorded from farmland. Livestock deaths caused by big cats straying into farmland have increased by 150% within two years (1998 and 1999).
The effects of sika deer Cervus nippon on the structure and composition of the evergreen broad-leaved forests of the Tsushima Islands, western Japan, were studied in 1997. Four study areas with differing deer densities were established; these were a high-density area (area H) (74.9 deer/km2), a medium density area (M) (22.8 deer/km2), a low-density area (L) (3.6 deer/km2), and an area without deer (N). Ground cover and numbers of plant species and individuals tended to be inversely proportional to deer density, and in particular the number of Trachelospermum asiaticum became noticeably fewer in areas with higher deer densities. Dominance of Cinnamomum japonicum and Neolitsea sericea was highest in area M, while Arachniodes exilis and A. sporadosora were found only in area H. Camellia japonica and Eurya japonica trees were debarked only in area H. Plant species numbers became fewer in relation to higher deer density. The H' values of areas M and L were higher than those of areas H and N. No close relationships were found between the species composition of the four areas, and Sφrensen's quotient of similarity (QS) of area H differed greatly from those of areas N, L, and M. Changes in plant numbers in relation to deer density were classified into three response types according to the way in which deer density changed, (1) continuous decline, (2) first increase, then decrease, and (3) increase from an intermediate density. The shoots, seedlings, and saplings of Castanopsis sieboldii, the dominant tree in the canopy, seemed to be vulnerable to deer browsing which may affect forest regeneration.
The impact of livestock grazing on grassland bird communities was investigated at 15 sites in the Xinbarhuyouqi district on 3-4 June 1997 and 14-21 June 1998. Sixteen species of birds were recorded from the 15 sites, which lie near the national border with Mongolia and Russia, at the west end of the Hulunber grassland in northern Inner Mongolia, China. Bird communities at the 15 sites were clustered into seven units, by using Whittaker's similarity index and the group average method. Both the number of species and the individual density of birds decreased due to retrogressive changes in vegetation impacted by grazing and mowing. Furthermore, the formation of bird communities was altered. Natural grasslands (not used for grazing) supported the Anthus godlewskii-Emberiza schoeniclus community, because tall dicotyledonous plants in this habitat provided perches for Emberiza buntings. This bird community may appear when vegetation cover exceeds 89% and vegetation height is greater than 24cm. Mown grasslands were dominated by the Alauda arvensis community. In grazed grasslands, Calandrella cinerea, Eremophila alpestris, or Oenanthe isabellina predominated depending on grazing intensity and rodent density. In heavily grazed, eroded grasslands with extremely poor vegetation, few bird species and individuals were found.
Regular monitoring of bear (Ursus spp.) populations is important to ensure that conservation policies are appropriate. Although population estimates may be less ambiguous than population trend estimates, they are more difficult and expensive to obtain. Bait station surveys are commonly used in North America to monitor bear population trends. We tested sardine bait stations as a monitoring tool for Asiatic black bear (U. thibetanus) populations in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, in summer and fall 1999 and in spring 2000. We established 341 sardine bait stations in five study areas. Eighteen (X = 5.45%; range = 0-10.8%) bait stations were visited by bears and 21 (X = 6.36%; range = 0-17.8%) were visited by non-target animals, and 11 were discarded due to data collection concerns. In the only area we tested during three seasons (Northern Japanese Alps), we obtained the highest (8.3%) visitation rates in summer, the lowest (4.5%) in spring, and intermediate rates (5.6%) in fall. These visitation rates are too low to be a reliable indicator of bear abundance.
The Holangapara Reserved Forest in Assam has a remarkably diverse primate fauna. Seven non-human primate species occur in this area, which received a higher conservation status and was renamed the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in 1997. Based on status surveys conducted every year from 1996 to 1999, six primate species were classified as endangered. This sanctuary is expected to play an important role as a model for protected areas in Assam by: improving the management system through enhancement of legal protection and enforcement of the relevant laws, increasing the budget, promoting awareness within the local community, and introducing ecotourism.