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Pant, G.; Maraseni, T.; Apan, A.; Allen, B.L., 2022. Identifying and prioritising climate change adaptation actions for greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) conservation in Nepal. PeerJ 10:e12795: 1-23 -

Location: Asia - South Asia - Nepal
Subject: Conservation
Species: Indian Rhino

Original text on this topic:

Climate change has started impacting species, ecosystems, genetic diversity within species, and ecological interactions and is thus a serious threat to conserving biodiversity globally. In the absence of adequate adaptation measures, biodiversity may continue to decline, and many species will possibly become extinct. Given that global temperature continues to increase, climate change adaptation has emerged as an overarching framework for conservation planning. We identified both ongoing and probable climate change adaptation actions for greater one-horned rhinoceros conservation in Nepal through a combination of literature review, key informant surveys (n = 53), focus group discussions (n = 37) and expert consultation (n = 9), and prioritised the identified adaptation actions through stakeholder consultation (n = 17). The majority of key informants (>80%) reported that climate change has been impacting rhinoceros, and more than 65% of them believe that rhinoceros habitat suitability in Nepal has been shifting westwards. Despite these perceived risks, climate change impacts have not been incorporated well into formal conservation planning for rhinoceros. Out of 20 identified adaptation actions under nine adaptation strategies, identifying and protecting climate refugia, restoring the existing habitats through wetland and grassland management, creating artificial highlands in floodplains to provide rhinoceros with refuge during severe floods, and translocating them to other suitable habitats received higher priority. These adaptation actions may contribute to reducing the vulnerability of rhinoceros to the likely impacts of climate change. This study is the first of its kind in Nepal and is expected to provide a guideline to align ongoing conservation measures into climate change adaptation planning for rhinoceros. Further, we emphasise the need to integrating likely climate change impacts while planning for rhinoceros conservation and initiating experimental research and monitoring programs to better inform adaptation planning in the future.

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