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The non-uniformity of the distribution of biodiversity makes allocation of the limited resources available for conservation of biodiversity a difficult task. Approaches such as biodiversity hotspot identification, endemic bird areas, crisis ecoregions, global 200 ecoregions, and the Last of the Wild are used by scientists and international conservation agencies to prioritize conservation efforts. As part of the biodiverse Eastern Himalayan region, Bhutan has been identified as a conservation priority area by all these different approaches, yet data validating these assessments are limited. To examine whether Bhutan is a biodiversity hot spot for a key taxonomic group, we conducted camera trapping in the lower foothills of Bhutan, in Royal Manas National Park, from November 2010 to February 2011. We recorded six species of wild felids of which five are listed on the IUCN Red List: tiger Panthera tigris, golden cat Pardofelis temminckii, marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata, leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis, clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa and common leopard Panthera pardus. Our study area of 74 km(2) has c. 16% of felid species, confirming Bhutan as a biodiversity hot spot for this group.




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