Monitoring Spatial and Seasonal Abundance of Indian Wild Ass (Equus hemionus khur) in Little Rann of Kutch Landscape, Western India


  • Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, 248001, India
  • Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 400001, India
  • Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, 700016, India
  • Van Chetna Kendra, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, 380015, India


The present study was conducted in Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) landscape in the Gujarat state of western India. It is a vast saline mud-plain holding the last remaining source population of Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur) or Khur after its population from other parts of the world got locally extinct. Khur occupy fringes of the Sanctuary and bets (islands) having grassland and scrubland vegetation. Taking adequate and effective management decisions and monitoring would be difficult in absence of reliable information. Line transect sampling will ensure robust population estimate of Khur. By bridging this gap with adequate information, meaningful and effective management decisions can be taken. We have conducted line transect surveys using foot and vehicle transect following distance sampling in southern fringe as intensive study site. The density estimates (No./km2 ± SE) in southern fringe of LRK during two surveys were 5.76 ± 0.91, 6.08 ± 1.39 in winter and 2.29 ± 0.55 in summer from foot transect and 5.2 ± 0.73, 6.72 ± 1.12 in winter and 4.29 ± 0.87 in summer from vehicle transect, respectively. The study will help managers to evaluate long term monitoring method and make adaptive management decisions.


Khur, Line Transect, Population Density, Semi-arid Landscape, Surra

Subject Discipline

Ecology; Wildlife; Conservation

Full Text:


Robinson JG, Redford KH. Body size, diet and population density of Neotropical forest mammals. The American Naturalist. 1986; 128(5):665–80.

Duncan P. Zebras, Asses and Horses: An action plan for the conservation of wild equids. IUCN:Gland, Switzerland; 1992. p. 36.

Shah NV. Ecology of wild ass (Equus hemionus khur) in Little Rann of Kutch. [Ph.D.Diss]. M.S. University, Baroda, Gujarat. 1993.

Moehlman PD. Equids--zebras, asses and horses: Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN. 2000.

Shah N, Qureshi Q. Social organization and determinants of spatial distribution of Khur (Equus hemionus khur). Exploration into the Biological Resources of Mongolia. Erforsch Biol Ress. Mongolei (Halle/Saale). 2007; 10:189–200.

Ripple WJ, Newsome TM, Wolf C, Dirzo R, Everatt KT, Galetti M, Hayward MW, Kerley GI, Levi T, Lindsey PA, Macdonald DW. Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores. Science Advances. 2015; 1(4):1400103. PMid: 26601172 PMCid: PMC4640652.

Schulz E, Kaiser TM. Historical distribution, habitat requirements and feeding ecology of the genus E quus (Perissodactyla). Mammal Review. 2013 Apr; 43(2):111–23.

Ahrestani FS, Heitkonig IM, Matsubayashi H, Prins H.H. Grazing and browsing by large herbivores in South and Southeast Asia. In The Ecology of Large Herbivores in South and Southeast Asia. Springer, Dordrecht. 2016. p. 99–120.

Crawley, MJ. Herbivory: The dynamics of animal-plant interactions. Blackwell: Osney Mead, Oxford;1983.

Kortland A. Vegetation research and the “bulldozer” herbivores in tropical Africa. Sutton, S., Whitmore T.C. and 252. 1984. p. 205–26.

Karanth KU, Sinquist ME. Population structure, density and biomass of large herbivores in tropical forests of Nagarhole of India. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 1992; 8:21–35.

Ali S. The wild ass of Kutch. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc. 1946; 46:472–7.

Gee EP. The Indian wild ass: A survey. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 1963; 60:517–29.

Singh HS. Status of Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur) in the Little Rann of Kutch. Zoos Print Journal. 2000 May; 5:253–6.

Caughley G, Gunn A. Dynamics of large herbivores in deserts: Kangaroos and caribou. Oikos. 1993 May 1: 47–55.

Illius AW, O’Connor TG. Resource heterogeneity and ungulate population dynamics. Oikos. 2000; 89:283–94.

Krishna YC, Kumar A, Isvaran K. Wild ungulate decision - Making and the role of tiny refuges in human-dominated landscapes. PloS one. 2016 Mar 17; 11(3). PMid: 26985668 PMCid: PMC4795686.

Droege S. The North American Breeding Bird Survey. Pages 1-4 in JR Sauer and S Droege, (eds.) Survey designs and statistical methods for the estimation of avian population trends. U.S. Fish Wildlife Service Biology Report. 1990; 90(1).

Pollock KH, Nichols JD, Simons TR, Farnsworth GL, Bailey LL, Sauer JR. Large scale wildlife monitoring studies: statistical methods for design and analysis. Environmetrics: The Official Journal of the International Environmetrics Society. 2002 Mar; 13(2):105–19.

Buckland ST, Anderson AR, Burnham KP, Laake JL. Distance sampling: Estimating abundance of biological populations. Champion and Hall, London. 1993. p. 446. PMCid: PMC1676856.

Fewster RM, Southwell C, Borchers DL, Buckland ST, Pople AR. The influence of animal mobility on the assumption of uniform distances in aerial line-transect surveys. Wildlife Research. 2008 Jun 27; 35(4):275–88.

Melville GJ, Tracey JP, Fleming PJ, Lukins BS. Aerial surveys of multiple species: Critical assumptions and sources of bias in distance and mark-recapture estimators. Wildlife Research. 2008 Jun 27; 35(4):310–48.

Skogland T. The effects of density-dependent resource limitations on the demography of wild reindeer. The Journal of Animal Ecology. 1985 Jun 1: 359-74. 24. Goyal SP, Sinha B, Shah N, Panwar HS. Sardar Sarovar Project - a conservation threat to the Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur). Biological Conservation. 1999; 88(2):277–84.

Zaker N, Ketchemen L, Lutscher F. The effect of movement behavior on population density in patchy landscapes. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. 2020; 82(1):1–24. PMid: 31919597.

Shah N. Wild ass. Singh, HS, Patel, BH, Parvez R, Soni VC, Shah NV, Tatu K, Patel D. (eds.): Ecological study of wild ass sanctuary little rann of kutch. 1999.

Mahar N, Mungi NA, Sutirtha L. Beyond nationality: Opportunity for trans-boundary wildlife conservation. DIALOGUE: Science, Scientists and Society. 2021; 4.

Prins HH. Competition between wildlife and livestock in Africa. In Wildlife conservation by sustainable use. Springer, Dordrecht. 2000. p. 51–80.

Kaczensky P, Lkhagvasuren B, Pereladova O, Hemami M, Bouskila A. Equus hemionus ssp. khur. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016.

Johnsingh AJ, Manjrekar N. Mammals of South Asia, Volume II. University Press (India) Private Limited. 2015, Chapter 39, pp. 112-128.


  • There are currently no refbacks.