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Date of Award

9-2013

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation

First Advisor

Todd K. Fuller

Second Advisor

Timothy O. Randhir

Third Advisor

Peter W. Houlihan

Subject Categories

Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy

Abstract

The Thung Yai Naresuan (East) Wildlife sanctuary (TYNE) is clarified as the Tiger Conservation Landscape of Global Priority and also a stronghold for other endangered and threaten species. Although, UNESCO designated this area, the cores of the Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM), as a Natural World Heritage Site in 1991, this wildlife has been threatened by habitat alteration, prey depletion, and direct killing. Yet, the information on impact of human activities and wildlife status that is needed to guild forest authorities to develop conservation strategies remains challenging. The goal of this dissertation was to increase understanding of tiger, other main predators, prey status, and also impact of human activities in the sanctuary. In the TYNE, the globally endangered species were observed including Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus), Tiger (Panthera tigris), Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), Dhole (Cuon alpines), and Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica). Spatially explicit capture-recapture approach estimated tiger density at 1.4-1.6 tigers/100 km2 and leopard density at 0.7-0.8 leopards/100 km2, which indicates that there might be 27±10 tigers (95% CL range from 11-46) and around 12±4 leopards (95% CL range from 8-19) roaming in the area around 1,596 km2 in TYNE. The large predators like tigers, leopards, and dholes co-occurred in the area with the combination of both spatial and temporal partitioning due to differences in predator and prey activity and low overlap in space use correlated to their prey preferences. Prey availability, human settlement areas, and human disturbance activities are the key limiting factors for their distribution and space-use. The habitat use of tiger and leopard demonstrated that the population distribution was limited in the central to the eastern part of the TYNE, while the local people occupied the west with high disturbance activities. The activities by local people in TYNE were varied and the impacts of the disturbance were complex. Slash and burn, livestock, tree cutting, and poaching appeared to be the major influence wildlife abundance and habitat around the settlement areas. The results of this study stress the need for the further conservation and management to maintain wildlife distribution and populations in the future. Better scientific understanding of wildlife biology, ecology, and social sciences would help to deal with the conservation and management issues facing the local communities and natural resources in Thung Yai Naresuan (East) Wildlife Sanctuary.

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