Biodiversity Science ›› 2005, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (5): 424-431.doi: 10.1360/biodiv.050062

Special Issue: Exploring the Mechamism of Species Endangerment and Conservation Strategy in the Rangtze River Drainage

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Rutting tactics in Père David’s deer stags under different population densities and during different rut periods

Chunwang Li1, 2, Zhigang Jiang1, 2*, Yan Zeng1, 2, Zhangqiang You1, 2   

  1. 1 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080
    2 Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2005-01-20 Revised:2005-06-28 Online:2005-09-20
  • Zhigang Jiang

From 1998 to 2001, we investigated the relationship between population density, rut tactics and rut phases of Père David’s deer. We chose three groups of Père David’s deer as experimental animals: two groups from the Père David deer population in the Dafeng Père David Deer Nature Reserve, Jiangsu Province and one group from the Père David deer population in the Beijing Père David Deer Park, Beijing. We recorded population parameters and closure area, reproductive tactics, the events of changing harem master, the numbers and size of harems during the prophase, metaphase and anaphase of the rutting season. Three rut tactics - harem holding, sneak mating and lekking - were all recorded in these populations, though there were variations in the rut tactics among the three populations during the three phases. With Factor Analysis, we extracted two main components associated with rutting tactics: component 1 mainly represented the observation site, the number of deer and the density of deer, whereas component 2 mainly represented the phases of the rutting season. Spearman correlations showed that: (1) “sneak” tactics occurred during the whole rut season, while harem holding and lekking tactics only occurred during certain phases of the rut; (2) as population density increased, the stags tended to adopt lekking tactics. Thus, we conclude that “holding a harem” is the main rut tactic among Père David’s deer stags, however, stags also adopt different rutting tactics related to the phases of rut and the density of the population. We discuss the significance of rut behavioral adaptation toenvironment in Père David’s deer, and put forward ideas about conservation of Père David’s deer.

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