Current status, distribution and conservation of the Sri Lankan Hog Deer Hyelaphus porcinus (Zimmermann, 1780) (Cetartiodactyla: Cervidae).

Nilantha Vishvanath, Ranil P. Nanayakara, H.M.J.C.B. Herath

Abstract


The Hog Deer Hyelaphus porcinus (Zimmermann, 1780) is an endangered ungulate, which has a wide distribution in the Asian region. However, in Sri Lanka it is restricted to the southwestern coastal belt. A one year study conducted from March 2009 to March 2010 to know the status and distribution of this ruminant showed its expanded range of occurrence in the Island’s southwestern region when compared to its recorded range in 1992. It showed a further shifting trend onto the eastern and southern part of the Bentota River basin and the northern part of Gin Ganga river basin covering an area of occupancy of about 220km3. Direct field observations confirmed its regular presence in 23 sites, in patchily distributed cinnamon cultivations, paddy fields, fragmented shady wet forests and marshy areas of the river basins. Nine individuals were also recorded in captivity. The Hog Deer inhabiting or frequenting home gardens and agro-gardens as well as paddy fields face a multitude of threats as local people consider them a pest. It shows a decline in abundance when compared to that of last two decades mainly due to the illegal killing. The recently constructed southern highway also has a negative effect on this species by means of fragmenting populations. A long-term ecological study on Hog Deer in its current distributional limits covering population density, group structure and composition, food and behaviors is required to develop a conservation strategy.

Keywords


Distribution, Hog Deer, region and threats, southwestern Sri Lanka.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3263.6515-22

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