Elusive cats in our backyards: persistence of the North Chinese leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis) in a human-dominated landscape in central China.
Integrative Zoology 00: 1–17.
The North Chinese leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis), the least‐known big cat, disappeared in most historical range for decades, following the development of modern civilization. Unfortunately, we have scarce knowledge about the status of this big cat so far, apart from anecdotal reports. In this study, we investigated density, distribution and habitat use of leopard, the apex predator, in a complex forest landscape in the Loess Plateau. We used a camera‐trapping network to obtain population estimates for leopards over two years through spatially explicit capture‐recapture models (SECR). Our results, based on maximum likelihood and Bayesian / MCMC methods, reveal that the largest wild population of the leopard was found widely distributed in remnant forests in central Loess plateau. The population is increasing in our study area, and the density of leopards (1.70 (SE = 0.48)‐2.40 (SE = 0.67) / 100 km²) is higher than other areas of China. According to the analysis of two seasonal occupancy models, prey species drive partially the leopard habitat use, predicting that the big cat thrives from the recovery of prey community*. However, human disturbances, especially oil wells, seems to have negative impacts on the habitat use of leopards. Specifically, it is necessary to joint efforts by the government and researchers to improve human disturbances management and prey species population density, as well as strengthen the investment in research on the North China Leopard, which could all further strengthen protection ability and ensure the long‐term survival of this species.
*The leopard prey species include the Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus), the wild boar (Sus scrofa), as well as some small mammals such as the Asian badger (Meles leucurus) and the Tolai hare (Lepus tolai).
International Trade Status and Crisis for Snake Species in China.
Conservation Biology 18 (5): 1386-1394
In recent years, the purchase of snakes for leather, food, and traditional medicine has increased in China, which has greatly reduced certain snake populations. Trade records show that since the 1990s, with respect to some species of snakes, China is changing from a net export country to a net import country. We analyzed data on international trade in snake species, concentrating, in particular, on trade dynamics and species composition. The overall number of snakes exported appears to have decreased in the last 10 years. However, the number of snakes imported during this period has increased steadily. Many species of snakes that are traded in significant numbers are endangered or threatened species. To conserve snakes in China, we recommended that the Chinese government and the international conservation community take the following actions: enhance legislation and list several species in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) appendices; register all snake farms in China; carry out population and market surveys; monitor the dynamics of trade; encourage biological research; encourage change in food habits; and enhance cooperation between Hong Kong and mainland China.
The troubled Baer’s Pochard Aythya baeri: cause for a little optimism?
BirdingASIA 24 (2015): 78–83
This article updates progress made since 2013 with conservationplanning and action, and looks forward to thecritical issues that need to be addressed in the next1–2 years.The most important development has been thepreparation of a Single Species Action Plan (SSAP)for Baer’s Pochard and the establishment of a TaskForce under the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) to oversee its implementation.
Stepping-stones and dispersal flow: establishment of a meta-population of Milu (Elaphurus davidianus) through natural re-wilding.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 27297.
Published online 2016 Jun 7. doi: 10.1038/srep27297. PMCID: PMC4895148. PMID: 27272326
The Milu (Père David’s deer, Elaphurus davidianus) became extinct in China in the early 20th century but was reintroduced to the country. The reintroduced Milu escaped from a nature reserve and dispersed to the south of the Yangtze River. We monitored these accidentally escaped Milu from 1995 to 2012. The escaped Milu searched for vacant habitat patches as “stepping stones” and established refuge populations. We recorded 122 dispersal events of the escaped Milu. Most dispersal events occurred in 1998, 2003, 2006 and 2010. Milu normally disperse in March, July and November. Average dispersal distance was 14.08 ± 9.03 km, with 91.41% shorter than 25 km. After 5 generations, by the end of 2012, 300 wild Milu were scattered in refuge populations in the eastern and southern edges of the Dongting Lake. We suggest that population density is the ultimate cause for Milu dispersal, whereas floods and human disturbance are proximate causes. The case of the Milu shows that accidentally escaped animals can establish viable populations; however, the dispersed animals were subject to chance in finding “stepping stones”. The re-wilded Milu persist as a meta-population with sub-populations linked by dispersals through marginal habitats in an anthropogenic landscape.
Medicinal use of Gekko gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) has an impact on agamid lizards
SALAMANDRA 50(3): 185–186 30. Oktober 2014. ISSN 0036–3375.
A Guide to the Mammals of China.
544 Seiten, 61 Farbtafeln, 556 Verbreitungskarten.
Princeton university Press. ISBN: 9780691099842.
China is a magnificent country and one of the most diverse on Earth. Its size ranks fourth among the world’s nations (9,596,960 km2), and it is home to over 1.3 billion people. The topography of China ranges from the highest elevation on Earth (Mt. Everest or Chomolung ma; 8,850 m) to one of the lowest (Turpan Pendi; 154 m below sea level). Chinese environments include some of Earth’s most extensive and driest deserts (the Taklimakan and Gobi) and its highest plateau (the Tibetan Plateau or “Roof of the World”). Habitats range from tropical to boreal forest, and from extensive grasslands to desert. This wide variety of habitats has contributed greatly to the richness of China’s mammal fauna. Additionally, the geographic location of China, at the suture zone between the Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan biogeographic regions (Hoffmann 2001), further contributes to the country’s mammal diversity. Overall, more than 10 percent of the world’s species of mammal live in China (556/5,416; total count from Wilson and Reeder 2005). Twenty percent (109/556) of China’s mammals are endemic, and one of these is among the most recognizable of the world’s mammals, the Giant Panda. In their analysis of megadiversity countries, Mittermeier et al. (1997) consider China to have the third highest diversity of mammals among all countries (following Brazil and Indonesia).
Elaphodus cephalophus (Artiodactyla: Cervidae).
Mammalian Species Volume 45, (904) :80-91. 2013
Elaphodus cephalophus Milne-Edwards, 1872 (tufted deer) is usually considered polytypic with 3 or 4 recognized subspecies, depending on the source. It is a small dark chocolate-brown deer typified by a tuft of hair on its crown, sharp upper canines that protrude downward from under the upper lip, and rudimentary antlers on males; it is similar to muntjacs, to which it is closely related. E. cephalophus occurs in humid, montane forests at elevations of 300–4,750 m in southwestern through southeastern China and perhaps northwestern Myanmar (historical records). Vulnerable to poaching in remote areas and relatively uncommon in zoos, it is considered vulnerable as a Class II species in China and listed as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Dramatic decline of the Vulnerable Reeves’s pheasant Syrmaticus reevesii, endemic to central China.
ORYX 49 Nr. 3 (Juli 2015): 529-534
The current status and distribution of the Vulnerable Reeves’s pheasant Syrmaticus reevesii, endemic to central China, is poorly known. To obtain updated information on its status we selected 89 candidate sites in six provinces and one municipality in central China and conducted interviews and field surveys from April 2011 to April 2012. Interviews demonstrated the pheasant has disappeared from 46% of the surveyed sites. Our results also revealed a population decline at 46 sites, including protected areas, although population densities in protected areas were higher than those in non-protected areas. Eightythree, 26 and 20% of the surveyed sites had evidence of poaching, habitat loss and use of poison, respectively, which were the three major threats to this species. To ensure the long-term survival of Reeves’s pheasant in China, protection and management need to be enforced in both protected and non-protected areas. We recommend that this species should be upgraded to a national first-level protected species in China and recategorized as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Status of Tibet red deer.
ORYX 30 (4): 269-274. ISSN 0030-6053
Reports of the Tibet red deer, a subspecies of Cervus elaphus, have been so few in recent years that there were fears that the animal was extinct. A survey in a mountainous region of south-east Tibet in October 1995 found evidence that a few deer survive in one small area and possibly two others in high-altitude valleys of the tributaries of the Subansiri River. The most exciting finding of the survey, however, was an estimated 200-strong population of this deer in high rolling hills near the village of Zhenqi, north of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. This is the only known viable population of the deer and, although some hunting occurs, including by professional poachers from outside Tibet, the fact that it survives is an indication of the tolerance of the local people. The Tibet forest Bureau has agreed to fund guards and to establish a reserve for the deer in co-operation with local people.
Leopard - Panthera pardus.
Cat News Special Issue 5, Autumn 2010: Cats in China: 30-33. IUCN Cat Specialist Group, ISSN 1027-2992.
In Asia, the leopard was originally widely distributed south of about 45°N. Across southwest and central Asia, leopard populations are small, separated and isolated; distribution and present status is however poorly known in most central Asiatic countries. Leopards are believed to be still relatively abundant in the forests of the Indian sub-continent, through Southeast Asia and into China, although they are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas. In China, they are still present throughout the east, centre and south. In the 1950s, national campaigns to eradicate pest animals – including tigers and leopards – had a considerable impact on the populations, mainly in the south. Based on purchased skins, 2,000–3,000 leopards were killed each year during the mid 1950s. The Critically Endangered Amur leopard has been reduced to a very small population in Russia, China, and possibly North Korea. The 2007 census revealed 25–34 animals remaining in the wild. Although P. p. orientalis is extremely rare compared to the other subspecies, we know much more about leopards in northeastern China than about those in the rest of the country, because the Amur leopard has received much attention and has also profited from field research and conservation activities focussing on Siberian tigers.