The habitat selection of wild animals residing in suburban area reflects their behavioral adaptation strategies to urbanization and socio-economic development, affecting individual’s fitness and population development. Despite declining population of Asian badgers (Meles leucurus) in China, there are increasing cases in human badger conflict with only few studies examining their potential causes and impacts. In this study we compared and analyzed 19 ecological parameters from 212 blank available plots and 45 active plots conducted through transect survey in the surrounding mountainous area of Beijing. Additionally, we assessed summer habitat selection and use patterns of Asian badgers and the interactions with human activities. In summer, active plots of badgers were in higher elevation (867.86 ± 49.49 m a.s.l.) compared with the available plots, and lower ground-plants coverage (42.00 ± 5.00%). To ensure the high food availability in hot summer, badgers preferred gentle upper slope with moist soil and good lee condition (p < 0.05), far (> 1500 m) from the community and road avoiding the anthropogenic disturbances. Further, our study showed that they tended to select habitats close to cropland (< 500 m; p = 0.053) in the higher elevation of the mountainous area. The habitat selection of badgers around Beijing is a comprehensive tradeoff of their ecological needs in summer, including food availability, security, hydrothermal suitability. Therefore, changing the interference and type of human activities in low-altitude and protecting forest edges in high-altitude are conducive to mitigate human badger conflicts and thus maintain the biodiversity conservation.
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This research was supported by The Biodiversity Survey and Assessment Project of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China (2019HJ2096001006) and the Nature Science Foundation of China (31672300). The authors wish to acknowledge Yinghong Hao, Shaopeng Cui, Qingbin Lu, Nengwen Xiao, Zhiping Zhao, Yijuan Deng, Yuhong Qin, Naixiu Yuan, Mengzhen Chu, Yangzhe Li, Taifu Sun, for the hard work in field investigation.
This research was supported by The Biodiversity Survey and Assessment Project of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China (2019HJ2096001006) and the Nature Science Foundation of China (31672300).
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Wang, J., Ji, S., Wu, J. et al. Away from the city: habitat selection of badgers in mountainous area around Beijing. Biologia (2021). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-020-00673-x
- Badger (Meles leucurus)
- Habitat selection
- Human badger conflicts