Carnivores belonging to order carnivora are important component of every ecosystem because they control the population of other animals through predation. The members of this order are more threatened to extinction in comparison to their prey species because of having larger home ranges and smaller population size. Hunting, climate change and anthropogenic interference in their natural life intensify the extinction pressure on carnivores, of which habitat loss due to fragmentation effect has special concerns. Habitat loss and fragmentation not only disturbs the distribution of carnivore species but also leads to imbalance in ecosystem. The Indus Delta is a fertile tract of land not only producing food and fiber for huge population but also an important habitat for a number of carnivore species. Climate change such as global warming is causing extreme climate changes in Pakistan. As a result glaciers in Himalaya-Karakoram-Hindukush regions are melting at much higher rate. Such increased water flow resulted in massive floods in Indus delta during 1990s and 2010. As a result of frequent floods carnivore species lost their habitat. Current study was designed to check the effects of habitat fragmentation on distribution of carnivore species in the Indus Riverine delta. For this purpose we reviewed previous literature and conducted questionnaire survey of fifteen different sites for fifteen different carnivorous species. Data collected from scientific papers and field survey was grouped into three categories (a, b and c) and then analyzed using betapart (an R-package for studying beta-diversity). Sorenson dissimilarity (ßsor) shows a regular change in beta-diversity from before1990-uptill now both in nestedness and species turnover. But when we measure nestedness dissimilarity index (ßsne) alone, it shows a relatively small change from 1990-2010 but after 2010 there was an abrupt change and same is the case with turnover dissimilarity index (ßsor) . Site wise turnover dissimilarity (ßsim) for all three categories shows that with the loss of some species diversity among study sites is decreasing and they are becoming more corelated with each other. While nestedness dissimilarity for all three data sets also shows gradual variation and increased dissimilarity . I also compared square root transformed ßsim and ßsne components of ßsor for data before 1990 and before 2010, before 2010 and current data and at the end before 1990 and current data . Results show that during 1990 to 2010 there was gradual increase in the species nestedness but after 2010 due to flooding fragmentation of habitat resulted in species loss. It proved that fragmentation has negative impact on survival of species.
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Citation: Omer S.S(2020).VULNERABILITY OF CARNIVORE SPECIES TO HABITAT FRAGMENTATION ALONG INDUS RIVER.Virtual University of Pakistan (Lahore,Pakistan ).