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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2014

Authors: Kaczensky, P; Adiya, Y; von Wehrden, H; Mijiddorj, B; Walzer, C; Güthlin, D; Enkhbileg, D; Reading, RP

Title: Space and habitat use by wild Bactrian camels in the Transaltai Gobi of southern Mongolia.

Source: Biol Conserv. 2014; 169(100):311-318



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Kaczensky Petra
Walzer Christian

Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology


Project(s): Landscape level research for the conservation of Asiatic wild ass in Mongolia


Abstract:
Wild Bactrian camels (Camela ferus) are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and only persist in some of the most remote locations in northern China and southern Mongolia. Although the species has been recognized as an umbrella species for the fragile central Asian desert ecosystem and has been high on the conservation agenda, little is known about the species" habitat requirements, with most information coming from anecdotal sightings and descriptive studies. We compiled the only available telemetry data from wild camels worldwide. Seven wild camels, which were followed for 11-378 monitoring days, covered a total range of 28,410 km(2), with individual annual ranges being >12,000 km(2) for three animals followed over a year. Camels reacted strongly to capture events, moving up to 64 km from the capture site within a day, whereas normal average daily straight line distances were 3.0-6.4 km/day. Camels showed a preference for intermediate productivity values (NDVI, habitat type) and landscape parameters (distance to water, elevation) and an avoidance of steep slopes. Our telemetry results suggest that wild camels still range throughout the entire Great Gobi A Strictly Protected Area (SPA), are highly mobile, and very sensitive to human disturbance. Their habitat preference may be a trade-off between dietary and safety requirements. Small sample size did not allow the development of a full habitat model testing all variables simultaneously and we urgently call for more data from additional wild camels as a foundation for evidence driven conservation actions.


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