Journal of Mountain Science

Identifying suitable habitats of three ungulates in Arjinshan National Nature Reserve, China

Abstract Arjinshan National Nature Reserve (ANNR) is one of 3 refuges of the endemic ungulates Tibetan wild ass (Equus kiang), Chiru (Pantholops hodgsonii) and wild yak (Bos mutus) that are endangered by natural and anthropogenic factors in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Identifying habitat suitability is critical for species protection management. We used a GIS-based niche model to delimit and classify habitat suitability using an integrated assessment system, which included 9 biotic and abiotic factors. We divided the research area into 4 habitat types for these ungulates: (1) high suitability habitat; (2) moderate suitability habitat; (3) low suitability habitat; and (4) unsuitable area. Results suggested that chiru have the most areas of high and moderate suitability habitats while Tibetan wild ass had the largest areas of low suitability habitat and unsuitable area. Wild yak had the largest area of moderate and low suitability habitat, but high suitability habitats for wild yak were smaller than those of other 2 ungulates. There was overlap of high-quality habitat for the three kinds of ungulates in the vicinity of Kardun inspection station, which could be regarded as the core area for the coexistence and conservation of these endangered ungulate populations.

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