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Data from: Conflict bear translocation: Investigating population genetics and fate of bear translocation in Dachigam National Park, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Citation

Mukesh, .; Sharma, Lalit Kumar; Charoo, Samina Amin; Sathyakumar, Sambandam (2020), Data from: Conflict bear translocation: Investigating population genetics and fate of bear translocation in Dachigam National Park, Jammu and Kashmir, India, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7r368

Abstract

The Asiatic black bear population in Dachigam landscape, Jammu and Kashmir is well recognized as one of the highest density bear populations in India. Increasing incidences of bear-human interactions and the resultant retaliatory killings by locals have become a serious threat to the survivorship of black bears in the Dachigam landscape. The Department of Wildlife Protection in Jammu and Kashmir has been translocating bears involved in conflicts, henceforth ‘conflict bears’ from different sites in Dachigam landscape to Dachigam National Park as a flagship activity to mitigate conflicts. We undertook this study to investigate the population genetics and the fate of bear translocation in Dachigam National Park. We identified 109 unique genotypes in an area of ca. 650 km2 and observed bear population under panmixia that showed sound genetic variability. Molecular tracking of translocated bears revealed that mostly bears (7 out of 11 bears) returned to their capture sites, possibly due to homing instincts or habituation to the high quality food available in agricultural croplands and orchards, while only four bears remained in Dachigam National Park after translocation. Results indicated that translocation success was most likely to be season dependent as bears translocated during spring and late autumn returned to their capture sites, perhaps due to the scarcity of food inside Dachigam National Park while bears translocated in summer remained in Dachigam National Park due to availability of surplus food resources. Thus, the current management practices of translocating conflict bears, without taking into account spatio-temporal variability of food resources in Dachigam landscape seemed to be ineffective in mitigating conflicts on a long-term basis. However, the study highlighted the importance of molecular tracking of bears to understand their movement patterns and socio-biology in tough terrains like Dachigam landscape.

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