Ecological conditions for the Altai snowcock and the history of formation of its range in the Altai-Sayan mountain region are discussed. The range of this species extends mainly over mountain massifs surrounding the Great Lakes Basin in western Mongolia and the Tuva Basin. These regions are characterized by broken relief with steep slopes. Snowcocks populate both humid high-mountain areas of the Alpine type and dry-steppe areas in middle and low mountains. Expansion of this species to the Altai-Sayan region is attributed to Miocene-Pliocene aridization well manifested in central Asia. The recent distribution of the Altai snowcock over different altitudinal belts is explained by alternation of glaciations and interglacial periods in the Pleistocene and anthropogenic impact in the Holocene. The total abundance of this rare species is estimated at 10000–12000 individuals.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 12, 2007
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