US-AID PEER Research Fellowship Award

Announcements | Posted on 2022-12-13

The Ugyen Wangchuk Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research is excited to announce the recipient of United States Agency for International Development Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (US-AID PEER) Research Fellowship Award.

1. Kinley Yangzom [BSc. Forestry]

Kinley is studying the distribution and behavioral ecology of Assamese macaque (Macaca assamensis) in human dominated landscape in Trong Gewog, Zhemgang District.

Despite the wide distribution range of Assamese macaque, their population is continuously decreasing due to habitat loss. Accordingly, they adjust their habitats around human through behavioural flexibility. The study on distribution and behavioural ecology of Assamese macaque will be carried in Zhemgang district aiming to assessing the distribution and feeding behaviour of the Assamese macaque in anthropogenic environment. The data collection will be done along transects laid in the systematically selected grid. Three different data will be collected for; distribution, feeding behaviour and behavioural pattern. The findings will be used for enhancing the primate conservation and reducing the human primate conflict.

2. Reta Bahadur Powrel [BSc. Forestry]

Reta is studying mammals using morphological characteristics of hair with special focus on primates.
Hair analysis provides vast opportunities to expand the taxonomic research for extant species that are not correctly identified by morphological techniques. This study attempts to exploit the discriminating power of hair to generate a reference for wildlife inhabiting Bhutan. The resulting data would greatly aid future studies involving taxonomic classification, illegal trade, biodiversity and the population of these species and their predator. In addition, morphological hair structure contributes a lot to conserving endangered species and monitoring their illegal trades.

3. Rigzin Jamtsho [BSc.Forestry]

Rigzin is studying population abundance and the extent of occupancy by the hybrid golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) in Zhemgang district.

In recent years, the hybridization of golden langurs with Capped langurs in Bhutan is identified as a significant threat to the endangered species. Although the Capped langur is apparently found in the majority of the nation's protected areas, the Golden langur is restricted to just two protected regions in Bhutan with only a countable number, thus creating a threat of genetic dilution. Hence, this study aims to document the extent of Hybrid Golden langur population in Zhemgang District and monitor the risk of genetic dilution of Golden langur in order to provide baseline data for future researchers and for proper implementation of conservation and best management practices by relevant agencies to safeguard the Charismatic Golden langurs.

4. Tashi Yangzom [BSc. Forestry]

Tashi is studying the human and golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei) interaction in an agricultural landscape of Zhemgang, Bhutan

Human-primate’s conflicts posed a threat to sustainable conservation of primate as local community develops negative attitudes toward the conservation. Understanding and addressing conflicts between the humans and wildlife is a crucial conservation issue. The crop raiding impacts economically in the community through crops damages. The Bhutanese households incurred an annual loss in income by around 25% due to crops raids by foraging animal (Tobgay et al., 2019). By assessing the human-golden langur interaction, rate of human disturbance across the natural landscapes through deforestation, habitat fragmentation, developmental structure, and agricultural production will be addressed.

5. Ugyen Choden [BSc. Forestry]

Ugyen is studying the spatial and temporal distribution and feeding pattern of Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala) in Trashiyangtse, eastern Bhutan

In Bhutan, primates are least studied and viewed as a threat by the local community. Unlike other species, there is no details study done on Arunachal macaque despite declining population. The information is limited for its long-term conservation planning. Hence, the study will be carried out in Trashiyangtse district to assess the spatial and temporal distribution and feeding pattern of Arunachal macaque. The data will be collected along transact laid in the systematically selected grid. Overall, the finding will it will enhance conservation of primates and understanding the human primate interaction at a small scale.

Congratulations the recipients!