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Habitat suitability assessment of Przewalski’s gazelle in the Hudong- Ketu area, Qinghai, China

Xiulei Wang1, Diqiang Li1*, Bo Wu2, Hongxiao Yang3   

  1. 1 Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091
    2 Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091
    3 College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875
  • Received:2005-01-17 Online:2005-05-20
  • Diqiang Li

Przewalski’s gazelle (Procapra przewalskii), a rare, endangered and endemic animal in China, was once distributed in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai. The distribution of the gazelles is now restricted to the region around Qinghai Lake. Based on field investigations in different seasons from 2002 to 2004, we assessed habitat suitability of Przewalski’s gazelle in the Hudong-Ketu region, a key distribution area of the gazelles. Food richness, slope aspect, shelter condition and human activities were selected as factors for habitat suitability assessment, and the habitat evaluation procedure for the assessment was conducted by GIS. The result showed that, in the absence of human activities, the area of less suitable and suitable habitats were 2493.76 hm2 and 18 624.06 hm2, accounting for 8.05% and 60.15% of the total area investigated, respectively. In the presence of impacts of human activities, less suitable habitat and suitable habitat decreased by 33.09% and 5.81%, respectively, while the area of unsuitable habitat increased by 38.90%. Because residential areas, roads and pasture fences have a strong impact on the habitat of the gazelles, Przewalski’s gazelles are confronted with habitat loss, iso-lation and fragmentation. The suitable habitat of the Przewalski’s gazelle is not included in the core zone of the Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve. We suggest adjusting the present nature reserve and establishing a habitat corridor by removing fences in some key areas to protect the habitat and to accel-erate population growth of the gazelle.

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