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Mahmood, T.; Vu, T.T.; Campos-Arceiz, A.; Akrim, F.; Andleeb, S.; Farooq, M.; Hamid, A.; Munawar, N.; Waseem, M.; Hussain, A.; Fatima, H.; Khan, M.R.; Mahmood, S., 2021. Historical and current distribution ranges and loss of mega-herbivores and carnivores of Asia. PeerJ 9:e10738: 1-23 - DOI 10.7717/peerj.10738

Location: Asia
Subject: Distribution
Species: Asian Rhino Species

Original text on this topic:
Ecosystem functioning is dependent a lot on large mammals, which are, however, vulnerable and facing extinction risks due to human impacts mainly. Megafauna of Asia has been declining for a long, not only in numbers but also in their distribution ranges. In the current study, we collected information on past and current occurrence and distribution records of Asia’s megafauna species. We reconstructed the historical distribution ranges of the six herbivores and four carnivores for comparison with their present ranges, to quantify spatially explicit levels of mega-defaunation. Results revealed that historically the selected megafauna species were more widely distributed than at current. Severe range contraction was observed for the Asiatic lion, three rhino species, Asian elephant, tigers, and tapirs. Defaunation maps generated have revealed the vanishing of megafauna from parts of the East, Southeast, and Southwest Asia, even some protected Areas losing up to eight out of ten megafaunal species. These defaunation maps can help develop future conservation policies, to save the remaining distribution ranges of large mammals.

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