Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (9): 1206-1214.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021104

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Quantitative study on the activity rhythm and home range of wild camels (Camelus ferus) in the Kumtag Desert

Yunjia Wu1,2, Yun Cheng3, Lei Yuan3, Shi Zhang4, Shuo Zhang1, Shaochuang Liu1,*()   

  1. 1 Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 Xinjiang Lop Nor Wild Camel National Nature Reserve Administration, Urumqi 830011
    4 School of Geography and Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074
  • Received:2021-03-21 Accepted:2021-06-30 Online:2021-09-20 Published:2021-08-11
  • Contact: Shaochuang Liu


Aim: The wild camel (Camelus ferus) is a native species to the deserts of Central Asia. Further, it is considered a first class protected animal in China. This study aims to explore the daily activity rhythm and native ranges of wild camels both spatially and temporally, so as to provide data support for effective protection and management of wild camels in this region.
Methods: GPS tracking collars were used to gather movement data for seven wild camels in the Kumtag Desert from May 2012 to July 2013. This tracking data was then used to infer the daily activity rhythm of the wild camels. A Brownian bridge model was also applied to further investigate the native range of wild camels.
Results: The results of this study suggest that: (1) Daily activity rhythm data for these wild camels indicate a clear bimodal pattern, with peak activity periods occurring in the morning from 6:00 to 9:00 and in the afternoon from 15:00 to 20:00. This finding is consistent with the wild camels being a crepuscular species. (2) The double peak time of the wild camel's crepuscular activity is close to noon, occurring during the transition between the warm season and the cold season. The order of interval times between peaks compared seasonally is: summer > spring > autumn > winter. (3) There are obvious seasonal differences in the daily activity intensity of wild camels. The relationships between daily activity intensity between seasons is: summer > autumn > spring and winter, where no clear difference was observed between spring and winter. (4) Wild camels belong to the core home range utilization type, often utilizing multiple core home ranges. The home ranges of the wild camels in this study exhibit a distribution between the north and south sides of the desert, suggesting that this species can move across the desert. (5) There are significant differences in home ranges among individuals, along with slight differences between sexes. Large variation in the home ranges of wild camels are observed seasonally, with the relative ordering from largest to smallest being: summer (1,256.27 ± 427.45 km2) > spring (556.90 ± 259.35 km2) > autumn (396.77 ± 82.31 km2) > winter (250.83 ± 99.64 km2).

Key words: artiodactyla, wild camel, activity rhythm, home range, Brownian bridge movement model, conservation