Factors Affecting Predator-Prey Distribution in a Protected Area, Tehran, Iran (a Case with Wolves and Wild Sheep)
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We tried to model habitat suitability of two prey and predator species including wild sheep (Ovis orientalis) and wolf (Canis lupus) in Varjin protected area located in northern east of Tehran using a presence only method, maximum entropy (MaxEnt). Totally 11 environmental variables were measured in the species presence points which can be classified in three groups including topographical, vegetation and distal variables. Resulted maps indicated that habitat variables such as slope (ranging from 35 to 40 percent) and elevation (lower than 1700 meters above sea level) are both institute those factors which mostly affect studied prey and predator habitat use. Our results regarding prey and predator geographical range of used habitat indicated that wolves cover most area than wild sheep which show more dispersed habitat resources for the prey species. ENMTools test revealed that wolf’s niche breadth is more than twice as much as wild sheep’s. Wild sheep in Varjin protected area has a relatively narrow geographical extent and shows a tendency to marginal habitats while wolves cover obviously more areas which denotes its high mobility and low dependency to specific habitats.
KeywordsCanis lupus Ovis orientalis MaxEnt ENMTools Varjin protected area Habitat suitability modeling
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