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Fecal egg counts for Kinnaura livestock and Asiatic Ibex in Pin Valley India

Citation

Khanyari, Munib (2021), Fecal egg counts for Kinnaura livestock and Asiatic Ibex in Pin Valley India, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.gmsbcc2nt

Abstract

Disease cross-transmission between wild and domestic ungulates can have negative impacts on agricultural economies and wildlife conservation. Assessing how to reduce these impacts is key to maintaining people’s livelihoods while also conserving wild ungulate populations. In the trans-Himalayan region of Pin valley, migratory flocks of sheep and goats share pastures seasonally with the resident wild ungulate, Asiatic ibex (Capra sibirica), leading to the possibility of disease cross-transmission. We focused our work on gastro-intestinal nematode (GINs) as they are common determinants of health and fitness in wild and domestic ungulates. Using a parasite life cycle model that incorporated host movements and the effects of weather on infective larval availability, we investigated the transmission dynamics and evaluated potential interventions to attenuate infection pressure for both, the livestock and ibex. We found that although ibex used the pastures year-round, parasite eggs which they shed only contributed to infective larvae on pastures during the summer. Migratory livestock enter the Pin pastures around day 152 (i.e. 1st June) and subsequently contribute eggs and hence infective larvae onto pasture. Migratory livestock were predicted to contribute the majority of infective larvae onto shared pastures, driving infections in both livestock and ibex. Our model predicts that any amount of anti-parasitic treatment of migratory livestock resulted in some reduction in infection pressure, but we found a c.30 day intervention towards the end of the livestock’s time in Pin had the highest impact, and is likely to be effective in reducing GIN burdens in both domestic and wild hosts. Our study provides a transferable multi-pronged approach and an adaptable predictive model to investigate parasite transmission in multi-use landscapes, including those with migratory hosts. We provide a robust approach for hypothesis-testing and intervention design which can serve the dual purpose of conserving wild ungulates and protecting herders’ livelihoods.