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Feng L.,Beijing Normal University | Wang Z.,Nangunhe National Natural Reserve | Un L.,Beijing Normal University | Yang S.,Nangunhe National Natural Reserve | And 4 more authors.
Acta Theriologica Sinica | Year: 2010

This work studied habitat selection of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in the dry season at Nangunhe National Nature Reserve, Yunnan of China. Village investigation and line-transect samples were used during the field survey. Waypoints were made about 1 km apart along sampling lines with 195 km in total. Data were collected on vegetation type, vegetation abundance, geography parameters (aspect, slope, location and elevation), population status and frequency of elephant sightings. A total of 54 elephant trace points were tracked during the survey in the dry season of 2005. 3S (GIS, GPS, RS) technology was used to analyze the data obtained from field survey and satellite images. Vanderploge and Scavia' s selectivity index were used to assess Asian elephants' selection for different habitat parameters. The results indicated that elephants preferred habitat where elevation was less than 1000 meters, slope less than 20°, located in a valley and oriented north, southeast and south. Elephant-preferred vegetation included bamboo-broad-leaved mixed forest and shrub. Asian elephants showed a preference for denser coverage shrub layer and arbor layer with lower height, dense canopy and small DBH. Based on satellite images, we analyzed the forest dynamics from 1988 to 2007 and found heavy loss of suitable habitat which seriously threatened the survival of Asian elephant in Nangunhe National Nature Reserve. Preventing habitat loss and degradation, and strengthening the control of poaching would be the key tasks for the conservation of elephants in Nangunhe.

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