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Swamp Deer is a globally threatened large-sized deer species confined within small patches of the Indian subcontinent. Historically, Swamp Deer occurred in Chitwan National Park, Nepal but was extirpated in the 1960s primarily due to widespread hunting. We assessed the habitat suitability at present for the Swamp Deer in Chitwan National Park using multi-criteria analysis in GIS and vegetation assessment using frequency, dominance, and cover. Within the 952.63km2 area of the national park, the habitat suitability analysis identified 14.57km2 as highly suitable, 134.87km2 as suitable, and 803.19km2 as moderate to least suitable area. Most of the national parkâ€™s grassland is suitable for Swamp Deer. Grassland is dominated by Saccharum spp.; Imperata cylindrica is the most widely distributed grass species followed by Saccharum spp., Narenga porphyrocoma, and Apluda mutica. Grass species of the Poaceae family are the most preferred species by Swamp Deer, which are found within short grasslands. The study revealed that Padampur Phanta could be the most suitable site for the reintroduction of Swamp Deer due to its highest proportion of short grass and availability of preferred food species and good habitat in comparison to other blocks. Invasion of swamps of Chitwan by Mikania micrantha and Eichornia crassipes could be a limiting factor for the habitat suitability of Swamp Deer.
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