The present paper describes land cover classification and habitat mapping for the Tibetan wild ass (Equus kiang), also commonly known as kiang, in the Surkhang VDC, Upper Mustang, Nepal. Remote sensing techniques were applied for this classification, employing an ASTER satellite image from October 2002. The whole region was classified into 6 land cover types, relevant to the application of habitat mapping for the kiang. The classes are: grassland, shrubland, bare land, water bodies, snow cover, and agriculture and settlement. The area of each land cover type was tabulated to give a general picture of the land cover situation. Habitat information was collected mostly from the literature and partially from a field visit. GIS tools for spatial analysis were used to identify the suitability of the habitat in the region. The whole region was classified into 3 different suitability levels, ie primary, secondary, and non-suitable, based on use and potential use by the species in the particular area. The region with suitable habitats was delineated so that any further conservation activities related to kiang habitat can be concentrated within this boundary as a management implication.
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Vol. 24 • No. 2