Title

Estimating the population density of Mongolian gazelles Procapra gutturosa by driving long-distance transects

Publication Date

2005

Journal or Book Title

ORYX

Abstract

Despite a ≥75% reduction in the geographic range of Mongolian gazelles Procapra gutturosa over the past 50 years, the species is still recognized as the most numerous large grassland herbivore in Asia. Its actual population size, however, is still disputed, and we therefore estimated its numbers in an 80,000 km2 area in the eastern steppe of Mongolia by driving long-distance (1,200–1,400 km) transect surveys during spring and autumn 2000–2002. Quantitative estimates of gazelle numbers are essential for understanding the causes of changes in the population, and thus devising conservation strategies to assure its long-term viability. Observed herds ranged in size from 1–4,000; among surveys, median herd sizes varied from 14–42. Density estimates varied from 10.7 gazelles km−2 in spring to 11.5 gazelles km−2 in autumn, with total population estimates of 803,820 (483,790–1,330,100 95% confidence interval) and 870,625 (499,432–1,491,278 95% confidence interval), respectively. Confidence limits were wide, and to obtain a coefficient of variation of 20%, transect lengths would need to be extended three- to four-fold. Until more efficient means for conducting population surveys can be implemented, driving long-distance transects, combined with distance analysis, seem to provide the best quantitative estimate of Mongolian gazelle populations.

DOI

10.1017/S0030605305000402

Volume

39

Issue

2

Pages

164-169

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