Strategic Partnership Grant 2019

Project Name:

Partnering to secure and recover Manas grasslands and threatened species

Project Brief:

This project is researching habitat quality and community engagement to find effective and sustainable conservation solutions to restore degraded grasslands in Manas National Park and protect species that rely on them. These include the Critically Endangered pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) and Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis).

Project objectives:
  • Survey Manas National Park to map habitat quality and use the data to prioritise restoration sites and inform the development of conservation strategies.
  • Generate data on population and habitat use for key endangered species.
  • Quantify users and uses of grassland habitat.
Highlights from field:
  • Three experimental plots have been set-up in Manas National Park and are being regularly maintained. Treatments on grassland habitat management were conducted in these plots as scheduled. Soil data from one plot was collected and soil parameters were tested in the lab.
  • A Bengal florican study was conducted where the point count sites for the species were identified through a systematic survey. From the initial survey, Aaranyak has mapped the present Bengal florican distribution in Manas National Park.
  • Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, 14 pygmy hogs were successfully released in Rupahi grasslands. All the hogs are being monitored using 89 camera traps in 150-meter grid plans.
  • To strengthen the Eco-Development Committees (EDC), a consultation meeting with the EDC Presidents and Secretaries was conducted by the team to understand their needs.
  • A training module has been drafted to train community volunteers for effective delivery of their roles in the community monitoring process. On the job training for the same is being imparted.