Bishnu Prasad Shrestha
WP 8: Tiger prey: Bottom-up vs. top-down control of deer in Bardia NP
My name is Bishnu Prasad Shrestha. I am a PhD Candidate at Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Group at Wageningen University and Research. I am working under the work package 8 of the Save the tiger project. My research is on understanding the relative importance of predation, food and weather conditions in shaping the distribution and abundance of tiger preys in Bardia National Park, Nepal. The distribution and abundance of any animals are controlled by multiple factors. In predator-prey interactions, prey individuals must use space where they can obtain sufficient forage, avoid competition or predation and find the best environment, whereas predators favor areas preferred by prey. Whether top-down or bottom-up regulation prevails depends both on biotic constraints, abiotic constraints on forage availability, and body size, because size simultaneously affects the risk of predation of herbivores and their nutritional demands. Predation risk might not be the same all over the landscape area. Predation, food can play a key role in the distribution of large herbivores, and their role is little bit studied but there are still debating whether predation has a large indirect effect on the vegetation by influencing the density and behavior of large herbivores. However, we do not know how these multiple factors shape the distribution and abundance of the tiger preys. Similarly, the role of weather conditions in the distribution and density of large herbivores in tropical environments has hardly been studied. The relative importance of these factors remains unknown. Therefore my research aims to understand the relative importance of predation, food quality and quantity, and weather condition in shaping the distribution and abundance of tiger preys.