Wei Wei, Han Han, Hong Zhou, Mingsheng Hong, Shanshan Cao, Zejun Zhang
Folia Zoologica 67 (3-4), 198-206, (1 December 2018) https://doi.org/10.25225/fozo.v67.i3-4.a10.2018
KEYWORDS: sympatric species, microhabitat selection, coexistence, habitat partitioning, conservation implications
The coexistence mechanisms of sympatric species have attracted wide attention from ecologists. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), takin (Budorcas taxicolor) and goral (Naemorhedus griseus) are species which are being seriously endangered along to the Himalayan-Hengduan Mountains. To improve the understanding of mechanism of microhabitat separation and coexistence between the giant panda and the other two sympatric species, we investigated microhabitat characteristics at Tangjiahe Nature Reserve, Qingchuan County of Sichuan Province, China during 2013 by sampling 86 fecal-site plots for giant pandas, takins and gorals as well as 80 control plots. Our results suggested that each species has their own specific microhabitat selection pattern. Furthermore, the giant pandas more often selected microhabitats with gentler slope, more bamboo, lower tree canopy and a small herb shrub while the takins and gorals preferred the microhabitats with less bamboo, but more trees and shrubs. Thus, based on our findings, food resources, dietary requirements and energy expenditure are considered as the main ecological factors which caused the microhabitat separation among these three species. Because of the narrow dietary, the giant panda's specificity to its microhabitat is higher than that of the other two animals, which results in their segmentation. This study provides a scientific evidence that conservation efforts should be under way to protect the sympatric habitat, not only the suitable habitat for giant pandas but also that of takins and gorals, which can make a great improvement to the local biodiversity.