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Wildlife conservation in rural southeastern China: Wildlife harvest and the ecology of sympatric carnivores

Haibin Wang, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The food habits, movement and activity patterns, and habitat use of sympatric carnivores, and wildlife harvest and utilization, were studied at the Taohong Village, Jiangxi Province, southeastern China during 1992–1996. Food habits of four species of sympatric carnivores were studied by scat analysis. Crab-eating mongooses (Herpestes urva) had the most diversified diet that included many water-edge food items. Masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) consumed a large proportion of fruits. Both small Indian civets (Viverricula indica) and hog badgers (Arctonyx collaris) fed heavily on rodents. Though there was a certain degree of difference in habitat use among these species, the rather high diet overlap suggested that the population densities of these species were reduced to a very low level by constant harvest pressure and secondary poisoning so that the diet ceased to have relevant effect on the sympatry of these species. The food habits (based on scat analysis) of the sympatric dhole (Cuon alpinus) and wolf (Canis lupus ) showed that their depredation on the endangered Sika deer ( Cervus nippon kopschi), domestic animals and small carnivores was negligible. Telemetry studies showed that small Indian civets, masked palm civets, and crab-eating mongooses did not have permanent dens but moved among their numerous daybeds. Small Indian civets used daybeds among the bushes and grass on the ground while other species used underground dens exclusively. Small Indian civets and crabeating mongooses limited their activity to the foothills at low altitude, while masked palm civets included habitat of higher altitude in their home ranges. Both small Indian civets and masked palm civets were nocturnal, but the latter had a low activity level in the daytime. Crab-eating mongooses were active in the daytime. Ferret badgers (Melogale moschata) were strictly nocturnal. Their daybeds included both natural and man-made sites. The lack of direct conflict of interest with humans allowed them to live in close proximity to human settlement. Wildlife harvest during the 1992/96 harvest seasons was studied by the method of participant observation. Wildlife harvesters comprised 1.5% of the local population, and a few professional harvesters accounted for a large proportion of the game yield. Shotguns and two kinds of traps were the most common harvest methods used. Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) and hares (Lepus sinensis and L. capensis) were the most important game species. In spite of the steady increase in the price of wildlife parts, the game yields experienced a gradual decline due to reduced harvest efforts. Wildlife harvest was market-oriented and played an insignificant supplemental role in the local economy. Marketing channels for both pelt and game meat have been well established and are spreading. Wildlife harvest remained largely unregulated. The prospect of wildlife harvest at Taohong is discussed and recommendations to control harvest are proposed.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Wang, Haibin, "Wildlife conservation in rural southeastern China: Wildlife harvest and the ecology of sympatric carnivores" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9920665.