The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is highly elusive, rare species, critically threatened with extinction worldwide. In this study, we conducted camera-trap surveys of an Amur leopard population in Jilin Province, northeast China. We estimated population abundance and density distribution, and explored the effects of prey population densities and biomass of prey, habitat and anthropogenic factors on the spatial distribution of Amur leopard density. Our results suggested that Amur leopard density was 0.62 individuals/100km2 and 16.58 individuals might live within the study area. The spatial distribution of Amur leopard density exhibited different responses to the population densities of different prey species. We found that two ecological thresholds existed in maximum responses of Amur leopard distribution to elevation and prey biomass. Vegetation and anthropogenic factors also showed significant effects on leopard population distribution. In general, there was a combination of habitat factors including, not only prey assembly and biomass, but also vegetation, anthropogenic and geographical factors driving the spatial distribution of Amur leopard population. These insights informed us that comprehensive adaptive landscape and prey conservation strategies should be conducted for saving this critically endangered predator.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2015
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