Save the tiger! Save the Grasslands! Save the Water!

Work Package 8: Tiger prey: Bottom-up vs. top-down control of deer in Bardia NP

The main prey of tigers in Bardia NP are the five deer species chital deer, sambar deer, hog deer, muntjac and swamp deer. In this work package, we will investigate several determinants of the distribution and density of these deer species. This understanding is needed for management of the park to provide sustainable prey populations for a viable tiger population.

By using camera traps and equipping animals with GPS, we will be able to test the relationships between the local density of each deer species and the available food, the presence of tiger and the weather conditions (especially ambient temperature). By placing camera traps in the riverine grasslands, we will be able to show how important this vegetation is for the five deer species.

The scientific question of this work package is to unravel the relative importance of top-down and bottom-up processes in determining the density and distribution of mammalian herbivores.

This work package is lead by Frank van Langevelde, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, Netherlands