Thesis Progress at CES on 23 April 2019 at 11:00 am titled "Distribution, activity budget and feeding ecology of Himalayan gray langur in north western Himalaya." by Mehreen Khaleel from IISc
Himalayan gray langur is a little-known endangered primate, endemic to Himalayas. Its distribution and ecology are poorly known. In Kashmir and adjoining regions, it is likely at risk of extinction due to land use change and conflict with humans. In my thesis I assess the current distribution of this species in Kashmir and try to understand how this species copes up with seasonality in terms of food availability, quality and temperature differences.
In the first part of my thesis, we, aimed to ascertain the current distribution of this species in Kashmir and identify sites which face human-langur conflict. Using well-structured questionnaire and on-ground surveys we have attempted to determine the spatial distribution in Kashmir region. Results suggest Himalayan gray langurs to be distributed in two different habitat types dominated by broad-leaved deciduous forest and coniferous forests within an elevation range of 1700-3000 m. There was found little conflict in the area based on the questionnaire surveys conducted. Conservation education and awareness programs in schools and colleges were conducted throughout to impart knowledge about the existence of this primate species in their region.
Second part of my thesis involves understanding activity patterns and time budgeting in different seasons. Activity budget is an important component as it determines how animals interact with their environment by adopting various behavioural strategies to maximize energy and reproductive success. Various factors are known to effect activity patterns in primates such as food availability, quality, and temperature, etc. These factors influence the time allocation on different daily activities. Food availability is known to either increase or decrease the time primates spend on feeding and resting. In the case of Himalayan gray langur, it is expected to increase feeding time in winter when food available is scarce. Increasing time of feeding helps them thermoregulate in sub-zero temperatures. From the study, similar results on seasonal time budgeting were obtained. As far as daily activity budgeting was concerned, two feeding peaks during winter were observed, in the morning and evening. During summer, only one feeding peak was observed in the afternoon. This discordance may be explained by analyzing their diet and other environmental factors.