Population Ecology

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 251–256 | Cite as

Habitat associations of four ungulates in mountain forests of southwest China, based on camera trapping and dung counts data

Notes and Comments


The present study aimed to assess abundance indices and habitat associations of four sympatric ungulate species (alpine musk deer Moschus chrysogaster, tufted deer Elaphodus cephalophus, Chinese serow Capricornis milneedwardsii, and Chinese goral Naemorhedus griseus) in Baima Xueshan Nature Reserve of southwest China, using camera trapping and dung counts data. Camera traps were set along six dung transects in different habitats and explored habitat use of the sympatric ungulates using trapping rates. The results obtained revealed that Chinese serow showed a negative association with open canopy cover and low canopy cover. Alpine musk deer were associated with oak shrubs, oak forests and open canopy cover, while tufted deer avoided oak shrubs. Goral showed no significant associations with habitat variables. Alpine musk deer and tufted deer had considerable habitat overlap with Chinese serow. By finding a high correlation between indices, the study indicates that camera trapping may represent a valid index of relative abundance, matching results from other studies.


Abundance indices Alpine musk deer Chinese serow Dung transects Sympatric ungulates 


  1. Acevedo P, Ferreres J, Jaroso R, Durán M, Escudero M, Marco J, Gortázar C (2010) Estimating roe deer abundance from pellet group counts in Spain: an assessment of methods suitable for Mediterranean woodlands. Ecol Indic 10:1226–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baskin LM, Danell K (2003) Ecology of ungulates: a handbook of species in Eastern Europe and Northern and Central Asia. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhattacharya T, Bashir T, Poudyal K, Sathyakumar S, Saha GK (2012) Distribution, occupancy and activity patterns of goral (Nemorhaedus goral) and serow (Capricornis thar) in Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Sikkim, India. Mammal Study 37:173–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brinkman TJ, Person DK, Schwartz MK, Pilgrim KL, Colson KE, Hundertmark KJ (2010) Individual identification of Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) using DNA from fecal pellets. Conserv Genet 2:115–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Broome LS (2001) Density, home range, seasonal movements and habitat use of the mountain pygmy-possum Burramys parvus (Marsupialia: Burramyidae) at Mount Blue Cow, Kosciuszko National Park. Austral Ecol 26:275–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Can ONE, Togan I (2009) Short communications: camera trapping of large mammals in Yenice Forest, Turkey: local information versus camera traps. Oryx 43:427–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chanchani P, Rawat GS, Goyal SP (2010) Unveiling a wildlife haven: status and distribution of four Trans-Himalayan ungulates in Sikkim, India. Oryx 44:366–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Darmon G, Calenge C, Loison A, Jullien JM, Maillard D, Lopez JF (2012) Spatial distribution and habitat selection in coexisting species of mountain ungulates. Ecography 35:44–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De Thoisy B, Spiegelberger T, Rousseau S, Talvy G, Vogel I, Vie JC (2003) Distribution, habitat, and conservation status of the West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus in French Guiana. Oryx 37:431–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Di Bitetti MS, Paviolo A, De Angelo C (2006) Density, habitat use and activity patterns of ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in the Atlantic Forest of Misiones, Argentina. J Zool 270:153–163Google Scholar
  11. Hofmann R (1989) Evolutionary steps of ecophysiological adaptation and diversification of ruminants: a comparative view of their digestive system. Oecologia 78:443–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jenkins K, Manly B (2008) A double-observer method for reducing bias in faecal pellet surveys of forest ungulates. J Appl Ecol 45:1339–1348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Karanth KU, Nichols JD (1998) Estimation of tiger densities in India using photographic captures and recaptures. Ecology 79:2852–2862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kinnaird MF, O’Brien TG (2012) Effects of private-land use, livestock management, and human tolerance on diversity, distribution, and abundance of large African mammals. Conserv Biol 26:1026–1039PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Landsberg J, Stol J (1996) Spatial distribution of sheep, feral goats and kangaroos in woody rangeland paddocks. Rangeland J 18:270–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lescureux N, Linnell JDC, Mustafa S, Melovski D, Stojanov A, Ivanov G, Avukatov V, von Arx M, Breitenmoser U (2011) Fear of the unknown: local knowledge and perceptions of the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx in western Macedonia. Oryx 45:600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Li H (2003) Baima Xueshan National Nature Reserve. Yunnan Nationalities Publishing House, Kunming (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  18. Maputla NW, Chimimba CT, Ferreira SM (2013) Calibrating a camera trap—based biased mark—recapture sampling design to survey the leopard population in the N’wanetsi concession, Kruger National Park, South Africa. Afr J Ecol 51:422–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mittermeier RA, Gil PR, Hoffmann M, Pilgrim J, Brooks CGM, Lamoreux J, da Fonseca GAB (2004) Hotspots revisted: Earth’s biologically wealthiest and most threatened ecosystems. Conservation International, CEMEX, MéxicoGoogle Scholar
  20. Namgail T (2006) Winter habitat partitioning between Asiatic ibex and blue sheep in Ladakh, northern India. J Mt Ecol 8:7–13Google Scholar
  21. Negrões N, Sarmento P, Cruz J, Eira C, Revilla E, Fonseca C, Sollmann R, Tõrres NM, Furtado MM, Jácomo ATA, Silveira L (2010) Use of camera-trapping to estimate puma density and influencing factors in central Brazil. J Wildl Manage 74:1195–1203Google Scholar
  22. O’Brien TG, Kinnaird MF, Wibisono HT (2003) Crouching tigers, hidden prey: Sumatran tiger and prey populations in a tropical forest landscape. Anim Conserv 6:131–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Olifiers N, Loretto D, Rademaker V, Cerqueira R (2011) Comparing the effectiveness of tracking methods for medium to large-sized mammals of Pantanal. Zoologia 28:207–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Petra H, Barbora Z, Kevin R (2009) An evaluation of field and noninvasive genetic methods for estimating Eurasian otter population size. Conserv Genet 10:1667–1681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pianka ER (1973) The structure of lizard communities. Ann Rev Ecol Evol Syst 4:53–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reyna-Hurtado R, Tanner GW (2007) Ungulate relative abundance in hunted and non-hunted sites in Calakmul Forest (Southern Mexico). Biodivers Conserv 16:743–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rivero K, Rumiz DI, Taber AB (2004) Estimating brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira and M. americana) abundance by dung pellet counts and other indices in seasonal Chiquitano forest habitats of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Eur J Wildlife Res 50:161–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rovero F, Marshall AR (2009) Camera trapping photographic rate as an index of density in forest ungulates. J Appl Ecol 46:1011–1017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rowcliffe JM, Field J, Turvey ST, Carbone C (2008) Estimating animal density using camera traps without the need for individual recognition. J Appl Ecol 45:1228–1236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sheng H, Liu Z (2007) The musk deer in China. Shanghai Scientific & Technical Publishers, Shanghai (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  31. Song YL, Gong HS, Zeng ZG, Wang XZ, Zhu L, Zhao NX (2005) Food habits of serow. Chin J Zool 40:50–56 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  32. Tredick CA, Vaughan MR (2009) DNA-based population demographics of black bears in coastal North Carolina and Virginia. J Wildlife Manage 73:1031–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yamashiro A, Yamashiro T, Baba M, Endo A, Kamada M (2010) Species identification based on the faecal DNA samples of the Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus). Conserv Genet Resour 2:409–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zheng SW, Pi NL (1979) Ecological study on alpine musk deer. Acta Zoologica Sinica 25:176–186 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of ZoologyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.China Exploration and Research Society (CERS)Hong KongChina

Personalised recommendations