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Population and Habitat of Amur Leopard in China [English / Chinese]

By: Jiang Guangshun (Editor)

202 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour tables

Science Press

Hardback | Apr 2016 | #230547 | ISBN-13: 9787030299567
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 months Details
NHBS Price: £94.99 $121/€113 approx

About this book

Language: Bilingual in English and Chinese

The Amur leopard may well be one of the world's rarest big cats. Although the Amur leopard is critically endangered, its status has been unknown to most people, and our understanding of the habitat and living conditions of the population in China is still lacking. In recent years, the authors have surveyed the prey populations of amur leopards, tracked footprints in snow, collected images with automatic camera set ups, as well as collected genetic samples from scats and other methods. Based on the results of previous research and field work the authors have carried out in recent years, it is now possible to evaluate the distribution and status of China's Amur leopard, including its prey populations, the presence of competitors such as the Siberian tiger, the extent and distribution of suitable habitat patches, and the current distribution of suitable habitat patches. A landscape conservation action plan based on the distribution its population and habitat can now be formulated.

The biomass of Amur leopard and prey density exhibited a non-linear relationship. Large carnivores, including Amur leopard, need to have eough food in the form of herbivore prey in order to survive and thrive. For example, Aryal et al. (2014) concluded that, in the northern region of Nepal, Mustang 19 snow leopard (Panthera uncia) needed to consume a large biomass of about 38,925kg of bharal or Himalayan blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur) to survive. Pereira (2010) found that when reducing prey abundance, two out of  seven females of Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) died from starvation in the study area. Thus, the initial increase in ungulate biomass may contribute to an increase in the density of the Amur leopard. In addition, once the size of ungulate populations exceeds the carrying capacity of the environment, habitat quality may worsen, or they may even be destroyed (Tremblay et al., 2004). In the current study area, wild boar, in particular, seem to evade Amur leopards, while making up the main biomass component of the ungulate population. Therefore, to effectively restore the Amur leopard population, one should reasonably control the number of wild boar, and increase the number of roe deer.

Our findings are consistent with Hebblewhite et al. (2011) who found that in the Changbai Mountain area Amur leopard choose to be away from roads, and prefer Korean pine broadleaf forest at medium altitudes, while avoiding spruce-fir forest at altitudes of 1100 to 2100 m (Chen and Bradshaw 1999). The elevatd spruce-fir zone also exceeded the optimum altitude for Amur leopard survival. For example, a suitable distribution of altitude for the Siberian tiger in the Changbai Mountains is 400-800 m (Jiang et al., 2014). Since the Changbai Mountain Siberian tiger and the Amur leopard are sympatric, they are likely to conpete for food or habitat. In this study, using automatic monitoring cameras, four cameras captured Siberian tigers. Marker and Dickman (2005) believed leopard density was not unduly inhibited due to the presence of other large predators. However, in China's Amur leopard population, this issue still needs further study.

Summary in Chinese:
东北豹可能是世界上最稀有的大型猫科动物之一。尽管东北豹极度濒危的状况已被大多数人所知,但对于东北豹在中国的栖息地和种群生存状况依然缺乏了解。近些 年,我们通过东北豹猎物种群调查、雪地足迹追踪、架设自动相机,以及收集粪便等遗传样本等方法对东北豹的出现信息数据进行了核实与确认,建立了一个较为完 善的中国野生东北豹种群和栖息地分布信息数据库。基于前人的研究成果和近些年我们所开展的野外研究工作,对分布在中国的东北豹状况进行了评估,包括猎物种 群、竞争者-东北虎、以及栖息地因子对其种群和栖息地分布的影响,确定了当前分布区范围和适宜栖息地斑块的分布,对适宜栖息地斑块潜在分布种群的大小进行 了评估,并根据其种群和栖息地的分布信息制定了景观保护行动计划。

东北豹的密度与猎物的生物量增加呈现出非线性的关系。大型食肉动物,包括东北豹,为了生存和繁衍需要有足够的食草动物作为食物。举个例子,Aryal等 (2014)得出结论,在尼泊尔北部Mustang地区的19只雪豹(Panthera uncia)需要消耗生物量大约为38925kg的岩羊(Pseudois nayaur)才可能生存。Pereira(2010)发现当猎物丰富度减少时,乔氏猫(Leopardus geoffroyi)有2只个体从研究区域扩 散出去,7只雌性个体因饥饿死亡。因此,初期有蹄类动物生物量的增加可能促进东北豹的密度增加。另外,一旦有蹄类种群大小超过了环境容纳量,栖息地也可能 会恶化甚至被破坏(Tremblay et al.,2004)。在我们的研究区域里,野猪,尤其似乎是被东北豹回避的成年野猪,是有蹄类群落的主要生物量组分。因此,为有效恢复东北豹种群,应该合 理控制野猪种群数量,并增加狍种群数量。

我们的研究结果与Hebblewhite等(2011)的发现一致,在长白山地区东北豹选择远离公路、中等海拔地区的红松阔叶林,东北豹会回避海拔 1100~2100m的云冷杉林(Chen and Bradshaw, 1999)。云冷杉区域的海拔也同样超过了东北虎生存的最适海拔。例如,在长白山东北虎的适宜分布海拔为400— 800m(Jiang et al.,2014)。由于在长白山区东北虎与东北豹同域分布,因此东北虎与东北豹很有可能因为食物或栖息地而产生竞争。在本次自动相机监测研究中,有 4台相机拍摄到了东北虎。Marker和Dickman(2005)认为豹的密度可能不会因其他大型食肉动物的存在而受到过度抑制。但是,对于在中国东北 地区的东北豹来说,这一问题仍需进一步研究。 


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