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Lin L.,Hainan Normal University | Lin L.,Beijing Normal University | Guo X.,Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve Bureaus | Luo A.,Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve Bureaus | Zhang L.,Beijing Normal University
Acta Theriologica Sinica

Transect surveys were used to study the browsing impact of Asian elephants' on Ardisia solanacea, Dalbergia mimocoides, Mallotus philippinensis, Kydia calycina and Cratoxylum cochinchinese at Wild Elephant Valley in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China. In total, 3 197 trees were studied and tree damage in relation to species, basal stem size, impact type, and impact level were recorded and analyzed. Our results showed there was no correlation between the intensity of foraging on a plant and its abundance (Pearson correlation, r=0.608, P=0.277). While foraging, Asian elephants showed preferences for Ardisia solanacea, Dalbergia mimosoides, Mallotus philippinensis and Kydia calycina, with the highest preference being for Dalbergia mimosoides(Preference ratio=1.4855). Avoidance of certain species was also shown, with Cratoxylum cochinchinese showing the highest avoidance by elephants (Preference ratio=0.5855). Ardisia solanacea suffered the most intense impact from foraging in the form of trunk breaking (52.21%) and leaf foraging (45.38%). Mallotus philippinensis experienced heavy leaf foraging (53.04%) and trunk breaking(41.44%), while Kydia calycina was mainly utilized by leaf foraging (53.55%) and was the only plant in our study barked (18.03%) by elephants. Cratoxylum cochinchinese was mainly utilized by leaf foraging (56.35%) and was most frequently pushed over (16.02%) by elephants. Interestingly, although it was the most frequently utilized species by foraging elephants, Dalbergia mimosoides experienced the lowest level of impact. Stem size was also a factor in the foraging preference of Asian elephants as trees with a stem size between 3-8 cm were most frequently utilized. More work is needed to better understand how the Asian elephant's selective browsing could impact plant species and overall community structure within its habitat. We suggest conservation measures should be taken to avoid high concentrations of Asian elephants in a specific area for a lengthy period of time. © 2016, Science Press. All right reserved. Source

Liu L.,Beijing Normal University | Longtian Z.,Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve Bureaus | Aidong L.,Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve Bureaus | Lifan W.,Beijing Normal University | Li Z.,Beijing Normal University
Acta Theriologica Sinica

This study mainly focused on Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population dynamics, structure, and seasonal distribution patterns in Shangyong Protected Area, Xishuangbanna, using methods including individual recognition, community-monitoring network, trace-tracking and local interviews. Results showed that: About 68 wild elephants were present in Shangyong Protected Area. Totally 347 elephants' photos were taken during the 14 - month of research and 53 individuals were recognized based on those photos. The population structure was as follows: Calves (3, 5. 66%), Juveniles (11, 20. 75%), Sub-adults (15, 28. 30%), Adults (24, 45. 28%). There were only 2 adult males and the sex ratio of adult was 11:1, which was significantly higher than in other areas. During 1992 to October 2007, 32 wild elephants died in Shangyong Protected Area, while 7 individuals were definitely killed by poaching. The core portion of the protected area was the most dangerous for elephants. Severe poaching and habitat decreases were major threats to local wild elephants. Wild elephants were distributed differently in the rainy and dry season. Food was the most important factor impacting elephants' seasonal ranging patterns. Source

Lin L.,Hainan Normal University | Lin L.,Beijing Normal University | Jin Y.F.,Beijing Normal University | Chen D.K.,Beijing Normal University | And 5 more authors.
Shengtai Xuebao/ Acta Ecologica Sinica

This study focused primarily on the population and habitat status of Asian elephants in Mengla Sub-reserve of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in the Yunnan Province of China. Data was collected on the number of elephants, their range and human-elephant conflict through local interviews, community monitoring network and field survey during two time periods-the first period was from July 2006 to October 2007 and the second period was from August 2008 to August 2009. Trace-tracking was also used to collect data on major elephant moving lines during the first period. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) with 3S technique was the method used to evaluate habitat quality and predict suitable habitat for Asian elephants. Results showed that 25-32 wild elephants inhabited the Mengla sub-reserve in 2007, with that number increasing to 35-42 in 2009. Their range included the southeastern and eastern parts of the reserve covering an area of 221 km2 during 2006-2007, representing 19.2% of the total reserve. Wild elephants developed fixed moving routes to facilitate foraging of natural plants and cultivated crops. The total length of moving lines was 65 km, and resulted in human-elephant conflict in 14 villages. This included economic loss due to crop-raiding and accidental deaths by trampling. Based on E A, elephants in Mengla showed preference for lower elevations (<999 m) and milder gradients (<8°), including tropical bamboo forest and scrub-grassland, as well as areas with lower human disturbance. The preferred habitat for Asian elephants, including marginal, suitable and optimal habitat, covered a total area of 328.5 km2, representing 28.5% of the total reserve and was mainly divided into two patches-patch one in the southeast and patch two in the northwest part of Mengla sub-reserve covering an area of 150.5 km2 and 178 km2 respectively. However, elephants were found only in a portion of patch one during the first study period. In the elephant range, the preferred habitat represented 52.9% of the range, while the remainder consisted of farmland, rubber & tea plantations and steep mountains. The findings of the study urge conservation measures including anti-deforestation, anti-poaching, ecological corridor building, human-elephant conflict mitigation and trans-boundary cooperation to protect the Asian elephants. Source

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