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Activity patterns of wild Bactrian camels ( Camelus bactrianus) in the northern piedmont of the Altun Mountains, China

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There are significant gaps in our knowledge of wild camel ecology; especially the activity patterns that allow them to adapt to desert environments. The wild Bactrian camel ( Camelus bactrianus) is a critically endangered species that survives in the extreme desert conditions of Central Asia. We conducted camera trapping surveys at seven watering sites in the northern piedmont of the Altun Mountains from 2010 to 2012. We analyzed the frequency of photo-captures to elucidate the wild camels’ diel activity patterns, and the seasonal variation in their activity at watering sites. We found that these wild camels were predominantly diurnal at watering sites, with an increase in relative activity from sunrise, reaching a peak toward midday, and then gradually decreasing in activity until sunset. The camels visited watering sites more often in winter than in summer. These results provide a guide for water development in the conservation of ungulates in arid areas.

Affiliations: 1: 1Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China; 2: 2Department of Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Management, State Forestry Administration, Beijing 100714, China


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