Tharmalingam Ramesh

Tharmalingam Ramesh
Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History · Conservation Ecology

PhD

About

100
Publications
56,872
Reads
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1,337
Citations
Introduction
My research approach bridges habitat ecology, conservation ecology, and population ecology to address critical issues related to large carnivore conservation. My research addresses the impact of habitat fragmentation and associated anthropogenic pressure on carnivore population, prey – predator interactions, predator coexistence patterns and spatial movement ecology. Loss of habitat connectivity, human persecution (poisoning), poaching and direct anthropogenic pressure has caused tiger and other co-predators to decline/disappear from many of their former ranges. My current research focuses on the impact of human pressure on conservation of threatened species and their habitats through species monitoring. I believe that direct conservation applications must include locals and policy makers.
Additional affiliations
July 2012 - February 2017
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Position
  • Postdoc Fellow
November 2011 - May 2012
WWF Greater Mekong
Position
  • Research Consultant
December 2005 - November 2011
Wildlife Institute of India
Position
  • Research Fellow

Publications

Publications (100)
Article
Full-text available
Fear‐induced generalization of threats to noninimical stimuli is a behavioral tendency of humans to minimize exposure to potential threats. In human‐carnivore conflict zones, people often generalize their fear of predation by obligate carnivores to nonobligate carnivores despite differences in species’ predation rates. We investigated the effect of...
Article
Anthropogenic habitat conversion through urban sprawl is driving mesocarnivores to modify their behaviour and ecology. Thorough knowledge of their feeding ecology is fundamental in understanding the pressures imposed on mesocarnivores by urbanisation. The diet of the water mongoose Atilax paludinosus has been studied in natural habitats of KwaZulu-...
Preprint
Context: The changing land-use patterns surrounding freshwater bodies influences the habitat ecology of semi-aquatic mammals through alterations in stream characteristics and riparian habitat. Conservation of otters in inland freshwaters exposed to high anthropogenic activity requires an understanding of their multi-scale factorial responses for ef...
Preprint
Background The changing land-use patterns surrounding freshwater bodies influence the habitat ecology of semi-aquatic mammals through alterations in stream characteristics and riparian habitat. We aimed to predict the occupancy and detection probability of smooth-coated otter Lutrogale perspicillata along the Tungabhadra Otter Conservation Reserve...
Article
Full-text available
The global effort to protect megaherbivore populations is largely dependent on how human-wildlife conflict is identified, prioritized, and remedied. We examined the socio-ecological and landscape-scale factors determining spatial patterns of human-megaherbivore (Asian elephant Elephas maximus and gaur Bos gaurus) interactions across sixteen Forest...
Article
Full-text available
Chinkara (Gazella bennetti) is a widespread antelope in the arid and semi-arid regions of Deccan Peninsula, but it is relatively unfathomed in the southern part of its distribution range. We report the first photographic evidence of chinkara from Ballari district of Kar-nataka that comprises six camera-trap records representing six different indivi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Resource selection functions are among the most commonly used statistical tools in both basic and applied animal ecology. They are typically parameterized using animal tracking data, and advances in animal tracking technology have led to increasing levels of autocorrelation between locations in such data sets. Because resource selection functions a...
Article
Full-text available
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes in human activity via extensive lockdowns worldwide. Large-scale shifts in human activities bestowed both positive and negative impacts on wildlife. Unforeseen reduction in the activities of people allowed wildlife to venture outside of forested areas to exploit newfound habitats a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Over-generalization of threat to non-inimical stimuli is a known defensive tendency in humans that seeks sustainability by limiting threat exposure. The generalization of fear of predation and resultant predation to non-obligate carnivores evident in human-carnivore conflict zones despite the disparity in the rate of predation. Therefore, we inve...
Article
In the original publication, the figure 2 was processed incorrectly during the typesetting and publication process. The correct figure is provided in this correction. The original article has been corrected.
Article
Urbanisation is rapidly transforming natural landscapes with consequences for biodiversity. Little is documented on the response of African wildlife to urbanisation. We reviewed case studies of vertebrate species’ responses to urbanisation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to determine trends. Connected habitat mosaics of natural and anthropogenic gre...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanisation is rapidly transforming natural habitats with the potential to benefit synanthropic species, especially mesocarnivore species. Knowledge of the spatio-temporal ecology of mongoose species in an urban matrix is limited. Consequently, we examined the home range and habitat use of water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus, n = 14) in an urban ma...
Article
Full-text available
Large scale spatial patterns of livestock predation risk from multiple co-predators are fundamental to applied conservation planning. Here, we examined important ecological, social, and landscape attributes explaining spatial patterns of human-carnivore interactions. We used a systematic grid-based framework, across an area of 14,200 km2 of sixteen...
Article
Full-text available
Intensifying human-wildlife interaction requires effective human-wildlife management strategies. In India, forests designated as Protected Areas (PAs) have better wildlife protection measures unlike Reserved Forests (outside PAs) which are undervalued, although both support similar kinds of wildlife. Wildlife conservation planning and policy-level...
Article
Full-text available
The spatial ecology of the Herpestidae family has remained poorly studied across Africa. The behavioural plasticity and generalist nature of members of the family could be facilitating their expansion in anthropogenically transformed landscapes. Given the current paucity of information on their spatial ecology, knowledge of their spatial movement i...
Article
Full-text available
The loss and fragmentation of natural habitats is a major threat to biodiversity globally. In fragmented landscapes, species are not only affected by patch-level attributes but also by the influence of the whole mosaic of landscape elements surrounding habitat patches. Therefore, it is important to understand the simultaneous effects of local and l...
Article
We estimated the influence of habitat fragmentation characteristics (patch size, isolation and number of neighbouring patches), habitat and land management types at the community level, specifically, on species richness, functional-α (alpha), guild-and β (beta) diversity of forest and dense bush habitat patches in southern KwaZulu-Natal Province, S...
Article
Urbanisation is one of the most rapidly expanding forms of landscape modification by humans and leads to large-scale loss and fragmentation of native habitat. This can alter the structure, composition and function of remnant habitat. Therefore, understanding the influence of both landscape and patch characteristics is important for understanding fa...
Article
We assessed the potential competitive exclusion of southern bushbuck (hereafter bushbuck, Tragela-phus scriptus) by nyala (Tragelaphus angasii), the larger of the two spiral-horned browsing antelopes (members of the Tragelaphine family). It has been suggested that high concentrations of nyala, capable of browsing a greater breadth of food items, ne...
Article
Full-text available
Despite being heavily exploited, pangolins (Pholidota: Manidae) have been subject to limited research, resulting in a lack of reliable population estimates and standardised survey methods for the eight extant species. Camera trapping represents a unique opportunity for broad-scale collaborative species monitoring due to its largely non-discriminato...
Article
Full-text available
Despite being heavily exploited, pangolins (Pholidota: Manidae) have been subject to limited research, resulting in a lack of reliable population estimates and standardised survey methods for the eight extant species. Camera trapping represents a unique opportunity for broad-scale collaborative species monitoring due to its largely non-discriminato...
Article
Understanding the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on species’ behaviour is crucial for conservation planning, considering the extent of habitat loss. We investigated the influence of anthropogenic disturbances including agriculture, urbanisation, protected areas, and the presence of novel predators, on the temporal and spatial behaviour of sym...
Article
Aim We investigated habitat heterogeneity and patterns of avian taxonomic and functional diversity change across a decreasing patch‐size gradient in a critically endangered, fragmented forest‐system to elucidate: (1) habitat patch‐size and structural drivers of avian diversity change, (2) potential patch‐size thresholds at which avian diversity and...
Article
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Many threatened fish species that utilize riverine habitats are faced with habitat degradation and subsequent deterioration in their ecological surroundings. Habitat degradation is a consequence of water quality parameters associated with anthropogenic activities including mining, industrial, agricultural and urban activities. We examined how the m...
Article
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Land-use, the extent of cover, and intra-guild competition with larger predators all influence habitat use by mesocarnivores. Understanding this is especially important for little-known mesocarnivore species. We investigated the occurrence of the relatively understudied honey badger (Mellivora capensis) in iSimangaliso Wetland Park (St. Lucia, Sout...
Article
Full-text available
Context Conservation planning for biodiversity within anthropogenic landscapes is crucial given the rate of habitat conversion and human population growth. Investigating anthropogenic impacts on the persistence of biodiversity is key to management decision-making. Objectives We investigated the influence of protected areas (PAs), agriculture and u...
Article
Full-text available
The Indian Ocean Coastal Belt (IOCB) of South Africa is a natural forest-grassland mosaic, nested within an anthropogenic, mixed land-use matrix. Given the ongoing threat of agricultural expansion and urbanisation, we assessed the value of a buffer habitat (Coastal dense bush) for conserving forest species. We investigated the influence of microhab...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, long-term research is critical to monitor the responses of tropical species to climate and land cover change at the range scale. Citizen science surveys can reveal the long-term persistence of poorly known nomadic tropical birds occupying fragmented forest patches. We applied dynamic occupancy models to 13 years (2002-2014) of citizen sci...
Article
The spotted ground thrush (Zoothera guttata; SGT) is a globally endangered forest specialist whose distribution is poorly understood in the critically endangered Indian Ocean Coastal Belt Forest (IOCBF) biome on the east coast of southern Africa. More than 70% of the IOCBF has been lost to development, resulting in fragmented forest remnants within...
Article
The Indian Ocean Coastal Belt (IOCB) of South Africa is a natural forestgrassland mosaic, nested within an anthropogenic, mixed land-use matrix. Given the ongoing threat of agricultural expansion and urbanisation, we assessed the value of a buffer habitat (Coastal dense bush) for conserving forest species. We investigated the influence of microhabi...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the negative impacts of urbanisation, some species adapt to pressures of habitat loss and fragmentation. Trumpeter Hornbills Bycanistes bucinator are a large avian forest frugivore that uses urban environments in South Africa. Consequently, we used GPS/UHF transmitters to study their home range size, movement and habitat use in an urban–for...
Article
Full-text available
Distributions of avian mutualists are affected by changes in biotic interactions and environmental conditions driven directly/indirectly by human actions. The range contraction of red-billed oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) in South Africa is partly a result of the widespread use of acaracides (i.e., mainly cattle dips), toxic to both ticks and...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying the primary causes affecting population densities and distribution of flagship species are necessary in developing sustainable management strategies for large carnivore conservation. We modeled drivers of spatial density of the common leopard (Panthera pardus) using a spatially explicit capture–recapture—Bayesian approach to understand...
Article
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Top predators often have cascading effects on mesopredator communities by driving behavioural changes. Using camera-trapping surveys, we explored the site-detection probability of sympatric predators and temporal overlap and examined behavioural patterns to explore hypotheses of carnivore guild interactions between and within large and small predat...
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural expansion has replaced many natural habitats and the landscape structure with potential benefits to certain wildlife species. Some of mesocarnivores widely use man-made habitats in agri-ecosystems that are devoid of large carnivores and often prey on livestock. We examined the space use and habitat relationships of radio-collared carac...
Article
Full-text available
Globally anthropogenic pressures on natural environments have caused species decline. Ground dwelling bird species declined in numbers because of loss of habitat and nesting sites. Protected areas (PAs) are generally perceived as areas with little disturbance; however, many have/are also subjected to anthropogenic land use change, such as agrofores...
Conference Paper
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province contains 16% of South Africa’s remaining indigenous forests, including the Endangered Indian Ocean Coastal Belt Forest. Coastal development has resulted in a land-use mosaic including agriculture, forestry and urban landscapes. The effects of changing land use on forest mammals remain largely untested in KZN; thus, dete...
Article
Black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) are an abundant mesopredator on farmlands (croplands and rangelands) across South Africa. Given their adaptability in a changing anthropogenic landscape, knowledge of spatial movements can provide important ecological information on the species. We captured, collared and monitored five black-backed jackals in...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in habitat composition and structure along natural agricultural habitat gradient affect spatial ecology of carnivores at both intraspecific and interspecific levels. An important prerequisite for the conservation and management of habitat specialists is a sound understanding of how they use indigenous habitats within fragmented landscapes....
Article
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To better understand how Cape porcupines are able to successfully occupy many agricultural lands, we studied their digestive parameters and energy assimilation when fed three economically important agricultural crops (potatoes [Solanum tuberosum], sweet potatoes [Ipomoea batatas] and butternut [Juglans cinerea]). Daily food intake, daily gross ener...
Conference Paper
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) contains 16% of South Africa’s indigenous forests, including the endangered Indian Ocean Coastal Belt Forest. Coastal development has resulted in a mosaic of different land uses such as agriculture, forestry and urban landscapes. The effects of changing land use remain largely untested, particularly in southern KZN, a region his...
Conference Paper
KwaZulu-Natal contains 16% of South Africa’s indigenous forests, including the endangered Indian Ocean Coastal Belt Forest (IOCBF). Coastal development has resulted in a mosaic of different land uses such as agriculture, forestry and urban landscapes. Consequently, more than 70% of coastal forest has been lost and are highly fragmented, diminishing...
Article
Full-text available
Black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas Schre-ber, 1775) are one of the most commonly implicated conflict animals on farming areas in southern Africa. To determine the diet of black-backed jackals, and to understand their possible predation effects on domestic livestock , a study was conducted using faecal analyses in the Nottingham Road/Mooi River a...
Article
Full-text available
Body size in animals is an important trait affecting species niche differentiation and restricting similarity. Using camera-trap data over 2008–2010, we used photo-captures from 50 cameras spread throughout Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (Western Ghats, India) to assess the activity budgets of 21 mammal species ranging in body size from 1 kg to 2088 kg. L...
Research
A detailed long-term study on prey selection, food habits and population status of three sympatric large carnivores (tiger, leopard and dhole) was documented during the present study. In many protected areas upto date scientific information on this aspect remains negligible. To supplement the current basic information, the present study was conduct...
Article
Full-text available
Aspects influencing the distribution patterns of mammals are particularly important for species living in human altered landscapes. The current study investigated the relationship between occurrence patterns of large spotted genets (Genetta tigrina) with various environmental variables believed to influence their detection and site occupancy in an...
Article
Better management and knowledge regarding the effect of land use intensification on mammal abundance and occupancy is crucial for species conservation. This is particularly true in dynamic forest-farmland mosaics subjected to rapid human-induced habitat alterations for agricultural practices. We conducted camera-trap surveys at 44 locations across...
Article
Full-text available
Drivers of distribution patterns of poorly known species are among the most important aspects in conservation biology. We studied the proportion of area occupied by the large spotted genet (Genetta tigrina) and the slender mongoose (Galerella sanguine) in response to land use variables using camera-trapping data in Drakensberg Midlands, South Afric...