Data from: Red panda fine-scale habitat selection along a Central Himalayan longitudinal gradient
Cite this dataset
Bista, Damber et al. (2019). Data from: Red panda fine-scale habitat selection along a Central Himalayan longitudinal gradient [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.77r7b60
Red panda Ailurus fulgens, an endangered habitat specialist, inhabits a narrow distribution range in bamboo abundance forests along mountain slopes in the Himalaya and Hengduan Mountains. However, their habitat use may be different in places with different longitudinal environmental gradients, climatic regimes, and microclimate. This study aimed to determine the habitat variables affecting red panda distribution across different longitudinal gradients through a multivariate analysis. We studied habitat selection patterns along the longitudinal gradient in Nepal's Himalaya which is grouped into the eastern, central, and western complexes. We collected data on red panda presence and habitat variables (e.g., tree richness, canopy cover, bamboo abundance, water availability, tree diameter, tree height) by surveys along transects throughout the species’ potential range. We used a multimodal inference approach with a generalized linear model to test the relative importance of environmental variables. Although the study showed that bamboo abundance had a major influence, habitat selection was different across longitudinal zones. Both canopy cover and species richness were unimportant in eastern Nepal, but their influence increased progressively toward the west. Conversely, tree height showed a decreasing influence on habitat selection from Eastern to Western Nepal. Red panda's habitat selection revealed in this study corresponds to the uneven distribution of vegetation assemblages and the dry climatic gradient along the eastern‐western Himalayas which could be related to a need to conserve energy and thermoregulate. This study has further highlighted the need of importance of bamboo conservation and site‐specific conservation planning to ensure long‐term red panda conservation.