ObjectiveThe Chinese goral in the Inner Mongolia Saihanwula National Nature Reserve of northern China is an isolated population that is in urgent need of ambulance measures. Using habitat assessment can provide a scientific basis for the development of species conservation programs in the reserve.
MethodIn this paper, we used geographic information systems (GIS) and the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model to predict habitat suitability for Naemorhedus griseus in the Saihanwula National Nature Reserve. The accuracy of MaxEnt model was assessed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis method with the data of field occurrence records of N. griseus and environmental factors.
ResultThe results revealed that the area value was 0.967 under ROC curve (AUC) according to the model evaluation, approved that the model predication was adequate and excellent. The results also showed that the mean diurnal range, precipitation of driest month, altitude, distance to ranger station, distance to residential and normalized difference vegetation index were the main factors influencing habitat selection of N. griseus. Suitable habitat was mainly distributed in south-central of the nature reserve, with the total area of 4891.23ha, accounting for 4.59% of the total assessment area. The absence of interference factors increased the suitable habitat of goral by 12685.14ha.
ConclusionThe results of this study indicate that the habitat selection of the goral may be related to the trade-offs between foraging benefits and predation risk. The results also indicate that gorals had avoidance tendency to interference factors in habitat selection. Therefore, it is recommended to control any personal entering into the reserve to reduce human interference. In addition, this study clarifies the actual distribution of the goral in Saihanwula National Nature Reserve and has significant merits for planning management measures to protect this threatened species.