Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (9): 1141-1146.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020089

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Investigation of bird and mammal diversity in the Gansu Anxi Extreme-arid Desert National Nature Reserve using infrared camera traps

Xinkang Bao1#,*(), Liang Wang1,2#, Mengjie Lu1, Pengzu Pei2, Jianliang Li1, Donghui Ma1, Jiaqi Li3,*()   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000
    2 Administrative Bureau of Gansu Anxi Extreme-arid Desert National Nature Reserve, Guazhou, Gansu 736100
    3 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Nanjing 210042
  • Received:2020-03-08 Accepted:2020-06-18 Online:2020-09-20 Published:2020-09-12
  • Contact: Xinkang Bao,Jiaqi Li


In this study, we systematically determined the quantity, distribution, and population dynamics of wild bird and mammal species in the Gansu Anxi Extreme-arid Desert National Nature Reserve. We set 60 infrared cameras in three sample plots to monitor wild mammals and birds in the nature reserve. A total of 11,134 independent images were collected with a survey effort of 29,147 camera-days from August 2017 to September 2019. We identified 18 mammal species and 31 bird species, which include 5 and 11 species listed as Class I and Class II National Protected Wildlife in China, respectively. The analysis on the relative abundance of species showed that the five most abundant mammal species with highest RAIs (relative abundance index) in the reserve were Lepus tolai (RAI = 12.749), Pseudois nayaur (RAI = 4.690), Capra sibirica (RAI = 4.333), Equus hemionus (RAI = 3.163), Vulpes vulpes (RAI = 2.601). The bird species with highest RAIs were Alectoris chukar (RAI = 1.678), Columba rupestris (RAI = 1.142), Oenanthe deserti (RAI = 0.865), Phoenicurus ochruros (RAI = 0.374) and Oenanthe isabellina (RAI = 0.196). The results of the grid occupancy analysis for each species indicated that the most widely distributed mammals were Vulpes vulpes and Lepus tolai and the most widely distributed birds were Oenanthe deserti and Alectoris chukar. Compared to survey data collected over the last two decades, four newly recorded species (Cuon alpinus, Martes foina, Mustela sibirica, and Cervus albirostris) were found, and the observation of Panthera uncia was also the first in the reserve. Decreased human interference in the nature reserve is likely the main reason for the new species distributions and increase in the number of species within the reserve.

Key words: camera-trapping, Gansu Anxi Extreme-arid Desert National Nature Reserve, mammals, birds, species diversity, relative abundance