Bats of Nepal-A field guide

Sciuridae (Order: Rodentia) in Nepal

A list of peer-reviewed journal articles written by the organisation.

The fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus is Endangered with a decreasing population throughout its distribution range in South and Southeast Asia (IUCN Red List 2010). Ten live traps in a 200 m line transect were deployed near the Tiger Tops Tent Camp area in Chitwan National Park at the interval of 20 m. Two individual fishing cats were captured in March 2011. Regular fishing in the wetlands by local fishermen living nearby was identified as the major threat.

Six species of Emballonuridae (Saccolaimus saccolaimus, Taphozous longimanus, T. melanopogon, T. nudiventris, T. perforatus and T. theobaldi) are recorded from the Indian subcontinent (Bates and Harrison 1997). The sole representative of the Family from Nepal is T. longimanus, six specimens of which were collected by R.M. Mitchell from Jhapa (26º 29′ N; 87º 51′ E) in the eastern Terai of Nepal in January, 1966 (Worth and Shah 1969; Mitchell 1978). In February 2009, a single dead male specimen of T. longimanus was found by the first author in Samrat Chowk, a suburb of Biratnagar, 56 km due west of Jhapa (Fig. 1). This is the second locality record of the taxon in Nepal. Nepal lies within the Himalaya Hotspot as defined by Conservation International (www.biodiversityhotspots.org) and both Biratnagar and Jhapa are located in the critical/ endangered Global 200 terrestrial ecoregion number 91, Terai-Duar Savanna and Grasslands (Olson and Dinerstein 2002).

A list of reports and abstracts published by the organisation.

Still we are in phase of exploration of species distribution in different part of country. With support from Dublin Zoo, Chester Zoo, Rufford Small grant, a team of SMCRF’s had been in ANCA, recently declared conservation area in far western part of Nepal. Red panda is endemic to Eastern Himalaya though its historic distribution is expanded to Mugu district in western Nepal, the western distribution limit. However, feasibility study reports (Api Nampa Conservation Area and Kailash Scared Landscape Initiatives) reflect presence of red panda in this area on the basis of focus group discussion.

A seven days Training Workshop on Building National Capacity in Research and Monitoring of Small Mammals was conducted at the premise of Biodiversity Conservation Center, National Trust for Nature Conservation, Sauraha, Chitwan. Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation organized this training with support of WWF/Hariyo Ban Program with its partner organizations (USAID, WWF, CARE, FECOFUN and NTNC), Chester Zoo and Zoo Outreach. Twelve participants were chosen for the training from different institutions viz. Central Department of Zoology, TU, Institute of Forestry, Hetauda and Pokhara, T.U., Kathmandu Forestry College, Kathmandu, Khwopa College, TU and Central Department of Botany, TU.

Nepal is situated between two zoogeographic region of Palaearctic and Oriental. It harbors extraordinary variety of landscape, cultures and wildlife. Its physiographic features range from the highest terrestrial ecosystems in the world the Himalayas to the subtropical lowland of Tarai. The Tarai runs along the southern border along the foothills of siwaliks of Nepal and consist of tall alluvial floodplain, grasslands, forests of subtropical characteristics including riverine, mixed hardwood and Sal (Shorea robusta) forest. Tarai represents 14% of total land of the country. Nepal’s Tarai has several lakes and ponds. The IUCN (1998) inventory lists 46 lakes with over 8 ha. in the Nepal Tarai. The largest of these includes Beeshazari (3200 ha), Ghodaghodi (2563 ha), Jagadishpur Reservoir (225 ha) and Nacrodi (70 ha). These are ox bow lakes except Jagadishpur reservoir. These habitats are potential sites for the distribution of fishing cat.

Articles within this paper include the following.

Acharya, P. M & Lamsal, P “National Park”
Thapa, S “Recent re-records of bats in Nepal with notes on their taxonomic and ecological characters”
Kaspal, P “Saving the Pangolins: Ethno zoology and Pangolin conservation awareness in human dominated landscapes of Nepal”
Tandan, P “Population Status, Habitat Utilization, Distribution And Conservation Threats of Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus) In Bardia National Park of Western Nepal”
Poudel. S. B “Legal Issues on Small Mammals Conservation and Research in Nepal”

Chiroptera ranks most specious among the orders of mammals in Nepal accounting 51 species (Hutson et al. 2001). In western Nepal bat studies had been focused to Syangja and Tanahun districts, Pokhara city and Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). Chiropteran study was seized for 11 years after Csorba et al. 1999. Csorba et al. 1999 reported seven species from Tanahun district. Three days monitoring was carried out in Tanahun distict, Western Nepal from 12th to 14th March, 2010 with an objective to monitor the chiropteran species diversity, population, and distribution in study area and update the recent information and access the species status. Mist netting and Roost survey was the methodology deployed and altogether nine species were recorded among them most were found in common status. However, Ia io, the pre-recorded species which is Critically Endangered nationally could not be retrieved. Detailed monitoring at Tanahun district should be carried.

Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation (SMCRF) is dedicated for the research and conservation of small mammals within its priority areas and other potential sites throughout Nepal. Small Mammals like bats, red panda, pangolin, hispid hare, otter, etc. comprise more than 60% of total mammalian species in Nepal; yet, it is still among the least concerned taxa. Having focused on this least concerned taxa; SMCRF has so far worked on the monitoring of and conducted researches on bats on different parts of Nepal and on the red panda and pangolin too. Education and community outreach programs through school children is another activities, SMCRF is taking up, including the formation of Bat Club in the schools and conducting various awareness lectures. Radio program is one of the awareness activities, SMCRF had listed in its tasks to achieve the goal of reaching out to a large mass of common people and raising awareness regarding small mammals.

The arthropod ectoparasites of bats belong to the Siphonaptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Dermaptera, and Acarina (ticks and mites) but they are not necessarily restricted to bats (Whitaker 1998). According to Marshall (1982), 687 bat ectoparasite insect species are known, belonging to the Dermaptera, Hemiptera, Diptera, and Siphonaptera orders and seven families. Six among the seven families are exclusively dependent on bats. Marshall (1981, 1982) summarized taxonomic and ecological informations on insects that are ectoparasites to bats. Webb and Loomis (1977) summarized the literature on ectoparasites of Phyllostomid bats. Whittaker et al. 2007 briefly explained upon five orders and 19 families of bat ectoparasites along with the five families of parasites of hidden biotopes.

A preliminary study on microchiropteran bats of Kathmandu was conducted on September, 2008 with an objective of monitoring the species status after a gap of eleven years and to update the information. Eight specimens of three species were captured, all at the caves and tunnel. Null results from some sites and observance of few short flights at some sites conclude the hibernating population of microchiropteran bats.

Articles within this paper include the following.

Subedim T. R & Thapa, A “Habitat status and conservation of red panda (Ailurus fulgens) in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Nepal”
Singh, P “Non-volant small mammals of Rajasthan: An ecological analysis”
Kaspal, P “Saving the Pangolins: Ethno zoology and Pangolin conservation awareness in human dominated landscapes of Nepal”
Sanil, R & Shameer, T. T “Survey of distribution and habitat tracking of the Grey Slender Loris (Loris lydekkerianus malabaricus) at Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerela”
Thapa, S “A review on occurrence of bats in protected areas and their buffer zones of Nepal”
Mathur, V et. al “Reproductive behaviour and population dynamics of Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus)
Ghimire, Y et. al “Presence/absence and status of squirrels (Sciuridae) in Makalu Baarun National Park”
Maurya, K. K et. al “Impacts of roads on small mammals in the agro pastoral landscape of Kachchh, Gujrat”
Dhar, P et. al “Bacterial enteritis in an Indian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and its successful management – A case report”
Pandey, P & Kaspal, P “Small mammals survey in and around Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserves, Nepal”

Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation, SMCRF, New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal, registered charity 903/065/066 with Government of Nepal, is a pioneer organization in Nepal working in the sector of conservation and researches on small mammals within its priority area and other potential sites through Nepal. It is a not-for profit , member based organization with an objective of organizing trainings, workshops, seminars, conferences in small mammal issues among several others. Although small mammals comprises of 60 percent of total mammalian species in Nepal, it is still among the least concerned taxa. The research on small mammals is rare and so SMCRF has taken up the conservation initiative in its own small way.

Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation, SMCRF, New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal, registered charity 903/065/066 with Government of Nepal, is a pioneer organization in Nepal working in the sector of conservation and researches on small mammals within its priority area and other potential sites through Nepal. It is also registered at Social Welfare Council (29919). It is a not-for profit , member based organization with an objective of organizing trainings, workshops, seminars, conferences in small mammal issues among several others. Although small mammals comprises of 60 percent of total mammalian species in Nepal, it is still among the least concerned taxa. The research on small mammals is rare and so SMCRF has taken up the conservation initiative in its own small way. There are seven founder members, twelve life members and 67 general members.
Abstracts include the following:

Thapa, S “Peoples‟ perception of bats in Sagarmatha (Everest) Zone, Eastern Nepal”
Pandit, C “Conservation and Distribution Status of otter in Buffer Zone Area of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal”
Dahal, S “Study of Fishing Cat in Nepal: Past, Present and Future”
Kaspal, P et. al “Community-based Conservation Initiative of Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla in the community forests of Bhaktapur, Central Nepal”
Bandara, I. N et. al “Preliminary observations on invasive behaviour of Ratufa macroura (Pennant, 1769) (Rodentia: Sciuridae) in traditional home gardens in Sri Lanka”
Chakkaravarthy, Q. A “Research and Conservation Needs of the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)”

Among 248 squirrels globally, there are eleven species of squirrels found in Nepal with different global conservation status; one Vulnerable (VU), two Near Threatened (NT), seven Least Concern (LC) and one Data Deficient (DD) (IUCN 2010). Status of South Asian Non-volant Small Mammals: Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P) Workshop report also supports presence of 11 species with different regional and national status: one Endangered (EN), two VU, three NT and five LC ; two EN, two VU, two NT, two LC and three DD (Molur et al. 2005). Hylopetes alboniger is EN, Callosciurus pygerythrus is VU and Ratufa bicolor is enlisted in CITES list (Verheugt et al. 1995, Baral and Shah 2008).

There are 30 species of Pikas (Ochotona spp.) distributed throughout the world (Hoffmann and Smith, 2005). Five species of Pikas have been reported hitherto from Nepal namely Ochotona curzoniae, O. nubrica, O. thibetana, O. macrotis, O. roylei. According to IUCN, 2010 distribution of O. himalayana is uncertain. There is no evidence to support presence of O. himalayana from Nepal. Hence, we keep this species as possibly occurring Pika species of Nepal. O. forresti which has been reported from Sikkim may be a possibly occurring another species of Pika in Nepal.

Celebrating International Year of Biodiversity 2010 with objectives to; gather the researchers and conservationist as well as organizations working on field of biodiversity in Nepal in one ground; Disseminate the achievements, opportunities and challenges in conservation and research activities on small mammals of Nepal; Update the resource data on small mammals of Nepal; and Highlight the International Year of Biodiversity through media participation, Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation (SMCRF), Kathmandu Nepal in cooperation with Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) organized First One day National Seminar on Small Mammals Issues on May 15, 2010 at Local Development Training Academy (LDTA) building Hall, Jawlakhel, Lalitpur. The event was supported by Himalayan Nature, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) and Red Panda Network. Radio Kantipur 96.1 MHz was associated as the media partner


Reports based on surveys undertaken for the various projects conducted by the organisation.

Two Important Bird Areas lie in Kathmandu valley, but having potentiality, Chandragiri hill is not explored. It lies in the south of Kathmandu Valley representing the true mid hills of Nepal which is rich in biodiversity, but constantly being threatened due to habitat destruction. We explored the biodiversity of Chandragiri hill with species focus to birds and mammals along with the butterfly and herpeto fauna. The study was carried out in July 2015 in six adjoining Community Forests (CFs) of Chanragiri hill within the elevation of 1400-2425 m a.s.l. Six community forests were Mahakal Community Forest, Ganeshdevi-Bandevi Community Forest, Chandragiri Community Forest, Mahalaxmi Community Forest, Setidevi Community Forest and Laglagepakha Community Forest which cover 618 ha forest of Chandragiri Municipality ward 1, 5, 6, and 10 of Kathmandu district. We used both direct and indirect method (camera trapping, sign survey) for mammals, transect survey for birds and opportunistically recorded all the butterfly and herpeto fauna seen during the field work.

A first phase study on microchiropteran bats of plains of Eastern Nepal (three districts viz. Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa) was conducted on OctoberNovember, 2008 and March-April, 2009 with an objective of recording the species status for the first time. Two individuals of single species (Pipistrellus sp.) were netted while 13 bats of two species (Scotophilus heathii and Pipistrellus sp.) were captured by hands during roost survey, all from the houses. Megaderma lyra colonies were only observed, a dead specimen of Taphozous sp. was collected and measured, and two preserved specimens of Scotophilus heathii were measured. Time of emergence of their flight was recorded. In total four species of microchiroptera was recorded during the survey and in conclusion the population of these species except Taphozous sp. is rich. There might be chance of recording new species to Nepal or even to World from this area.

A baseline survey of bats roosting in Kailash Cave (28° 5’52.34″N, 83°54’19.07″E), Syangja district, western Nepal was carried out on 25 April, 2009. The aim was to rerecord the Myotis longipes (M. csorbai as per Csorba et. al, 1999) and to document their status. Four females Miniopterus schreibersii was netted whereas a dead specimen of Myotis longipes was collected and 25 Hipposideros armiger was observed. The population of the Miniopterus schreibersii was observed maximum about 200 individuals and that of Myotis longipes minimum as well as declining only fifteen. Among the five species of microchiropterans recorded from the Syangja district three species were found from the study area. However, only Myotis longipes was earlily recorded from this cave. This study added Miniopterus schreibersii, and Hipposideros armiger to the species list of this cave (Bates and Harrison, 1997).

Seven species of bats have been re-recorded from twenty sites in the Kathmandu Valley, Central Nepal during the first Phase of detailed monitoring survey. Four species was more documented to the preliminary (Thapa et al., 2009). Eighteen species are missing to the previous records (Bates and Harrison, 1997). Lectures on bats importance and their conservation were delivered to schoolchildren at eight schools in six sites of the project area. Community awareness radio-programme is undergoing.

Monitoring of bats in Sankhuwasava was conducted within October 21 to October 27, 2010. Nine individuals of three species (Cynopterus sphinx, Pipistrellus coromandra and Hysugo sp.) were noted. All individuals of bats were captured from roosts so roots survey was effective in study area. Population diversity of Cynopterus sphinx was found maximum than other species. The time of emergence of their flight was recorded in which fruits bats were found to be late flyers. Eleaocarpus sphaericus was best food for fruit bats in this season so seed dispersal of Eleaocarpus sphaericus was done in study area.

Chiroptera ranks most specious among the orders of mammals in Nepal accounting 51 species (Hutson et al. 2001). Western Nepal is one of the most studied areas; focused to Syangja and Tanahun districts, Pokhara city and Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). The main objective of the study was to report the recent information and access the species status of the chiropteran species diversity, their population in Nawalparasi district; Western Nepal that remained untouched. Four  days monitoring was carried out in the study area  from 14th to 19th March, 2010. Mist netting and Roost survey was the methodology deployed and altogether two individuals of Hipposideros armiger and three individuals of Rhinolophus affinis was mistnetted. Only fresh droppings of bat were observed in the Madhukot Odar. Very few species (only two) were found from the study area. Single species occupied the separate roosts. Habitat loss (Shifting cultivation in jungles; Forest fire and Landslides), and dumping activity are the threats pertaining to bats and their population in the study area.

This short period survey was the first attempt of bats study from Far-western Development Region, Nepal. This study was conducted from 25th Oct -30th Oct, 2010. Roost Survey, Mistnetting and direct eye observation for tree roosting bats were the methods applied. Altogether 36 individual of bats were observed and 4 were captured (Mis-netted) and released from the five sites of study area. Two species Cynopterus sphinx and Scotophilus heathii were observed and identified from external morphometric measurements. About 16 individuals of Cynopterus sphinx was observed in single Ashok Tree (Saraca asoka) of Mandipur, Suda V.C. D. The conservation action such as general discussion to school children, information leaflets about the importance of bats and bat poster distribution among the local peoples and schools children were carried out during this short study period. Because of short time we were unable to cover large part of kanchanpur district. This area is the new sites which may contain the new species of bat to Nepal and new to science. Thus detail study of bats should be conducted not only from kanchunpur district but also from the whole Far-western Development Region.

Small or large mammals do not constitute strict taxonomic entities. The International Biological Programme (IBP) working group has divided the class mammalian into three groups on the basis of their adult living weight (i.e. large, medium and small). Small mammals have been considered to be those species whose adult live weight ranges from less than two grams (e.g. the shrews, rats, squirrels, chiroptera, lagomorphs) to about five kilograms (Bourliere 1975). We have also included small cats and small carnivore in small mammals as the word small comes in front of them. According to Oxford Advanced learner Dictionary canidae fox is also included in small wildlife. This report includes all the recorded mammals that are described as small in their general term of use during the field work.

Preliminary survey of bats at Bharoul VDC, Sunsari of Eastern Nepal was done in September 2010 and January 10 and 22, 2011. The objective of this study was to explore and document bats diversity from study Bharoul VDC. Ten individuals of four species of bats were captured in between four species of bat one Pipistrellus ceylonicus was new species for Nepal. Eight individuals of bats were captured form roost and only single individual of Cynopterus sphinx was netted. Identification of bat species was done from skull, baculum preparation and morphometrc study.

 Fishing Cat Poster
 the ruffor flex
 Red panda poster
 1red Panda Poster