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Bed site selection of red muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and sambar (Rusa unicolor) in a tropical seasonal forest

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Abstract

The selection of bedding sites is important for the ecology of ruminants, but has mainly been described for temperate species. Here we assessed the bed site selection of two Southeast Asian tropical deer, red muntjac and sambar, in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. We surveyed transects weekly for 10 weeks each in 2003 and 2004 to locate bed sites, and compared the slope, aspect, and forest canopy cover of bed site locations between the two species and with available habitat. As with most temperate deer, muntjac and sambar both avoided sites with low levels of cover for their bed site locations; this could be for concealment or thermoregulation. Sambar also selected flatter sites than would be expected by the availability of topographic slopes; this could be to reduce the energy associated with getting to and from bed sites, or to increase long-range visibility from sites. Muntjac and sambar differed in their choice of aspects for bed sites; muntjac disproportionately chose west-facing areas, while sambar chose east-facing locations. This could represent a strategy by which one species avoids the other, or else differential resource requirements between the two species.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the Royal Forest Department and the National Research Council of Thailand, and the chief and staff of Khao Yai National Park. Funding for this project came from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science-to-Achieve-Results fellowship, a U.S. National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, and Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid-of-Research to JFB, by the Denver Zoological Foundation, the Universities of Montana and Washington, and by grants to WYB from the Biodiversity Research and Training Program, BIOTEC, Bangkok.

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Correspondence to Jedediah F. Brodie.

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Brodie, J.F., Brockelman, W.Y. Bed site selection of red muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and sambar (Rusa unicolor) in a tropical seasonal forest. Ecol Res 24, 1251–1256 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-009-0610-9

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Keywords

  • Cervidae
  • Deer
  • Habitat selection
  • Ruminants
  • Thailand