Appraising carnivore (Mammalia: Carnivora) studies in Bangladesh from 1971 to 2019 bibliographic retrieves: trends, biases, and opportunities

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Muntasir Akash
Tania Zakir


In contrast to <7% natural forest covers and >1,000 people living km-2, Bangladesh, one of the smallest countries in Asia, shelters 28 carnivorous mammals.  The species are of six families, nearly half of the entire carnivore diversity of the Indian Subcontinent.  Carnivores of Bangladesh are little understood and they are disappearing fast despite receiving stern protection.  Yet, there has been no assessment on the status of existing knowledge.  A review was aimed to assess the existing knowledge and evaluate the research trends in country’s mammalian carnivores.  Peer-reviewed works published from 1971 to 2019 were skimmed and categorized systematically according to five traits: publication type, research topic, time of publication, region, and species of study.  In a total of 95 works examined, substantial numbers were on tiger (n=45) and the Sundarbans (n=47).  In imbalance to action plans procured for tiger conservation, 14 carnivores have never been exclusively studied in Bangladesh.  Of the research topics, preference was evident for wildlife management and conflict analyses as there were 31 scientific papers out of 63 in these categories.  Inventory compilation for books (18 of 24) comprised the next preferred subject.  The assessment could identify gaps in related knowledge in different regions of the country.  Eastern region has experienced a meagre amount of work, although its mixed evergreen forests have larger combined area than the Sundarbans, and is known for its higher richness of diversity.  Exclusive works outside legally defined protected areas were also low.  We found no works in northwestern and southern Bangladesh.  In the last two decades, the temporal trajectory of research effort has been more, and the topics have started to diversify.  In order to improve conservation practices, we stress that gaps in knowledge pertaining to region or subject may be bridged with contemporary study techniques.  This is crucial to highlight the status of carnivore species that are otherwise ‘elusive’, ‘apparently absent’, or ‘least-known’. 

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