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Dietary overlap among kulan Equus hemionus, goitered gazelle Gazella subgutturosa and livestock

Author(s): CHU Hong-Jun | JIANG Zhi-Gang | LAN Wen-Xu | WANG Chen | TAO Yong-Shan | JIANG Feng

Journal: Acta Zoologica Sinica
ISSN 0001-7302

Volume: 54;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 941;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Khulan | Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve | Trophic niche overlap

We studied overlap among diets of kulan Equus hemionus, goitered gazelle Gazella subgutturosa sairensis and three domestic livestock, using micro-histological analysis of fresh fecal samples collected in the Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve, Xinjiang, China during autumn and winter 2007, and spring 2008. Kulan, goitred gazelle and domestic livestock mainly ate Stipa spp., Ceratoides lateens, Artemisia spp. and white saxaul Haloxylon persicum, although plant families and species compositions of their diets differed. Pianka Niche Overlap Index C values of kulan, goitered gazelle, and 3 domestic livestock species were all over 0.8, varying from 0.832 (between goitered gazelle and domestic horse in winter) to 0.986 (between kulan and domestic sheep in autumn, and between domestic horse and domestic sheep in autumn). We interpret these high overlap values as indicating serious food competition among wild animals and seasonal pastoral livestock, especially, during winters when deep snow covered ground and forage was scarce. Wild ungulates may be die due to malnutrition during those severe winters. Thus we recommend that managers of Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve should set up guidelines for restricting the number of livestock entering the nature reserve in autumn, or restricting the grazing area of livestock in winter, and protecting wild ungulates in the nature reserve [Acta Zoologica Sinica 54(6):941– 954, 2008].
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