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Population structure and grouping tendency of Asiatic ibex Capra sibirica in the Central Karakoram National Park, Pakistan

Muhammad Zafar Khan, Muhammad Saeed Awan, Anna Bocci, Babar Khan, Syed Yasir Abbas, Garee Khan, Saeed Abbas

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.5(2), 542-554, August 2014


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Studies of Asiatic ibex Capra sibirica were conducted in Hushey valley (ca. 832 km2), the south-eastern part of CKNP, Pakistan during spring and winter of 2011-2013. Ibex were observed at elevations of 3342-4973 m, and based on winter assessment the average density was 1.2 animals km-2 and biomass 84 kg km -2. Minimum count, based on winter observations was 368 animals (±146) of which 29% were adult males, 28% adult females, 15% yearlings, 23% kids while 5% could not be aged or sexed. In spring (pre-parturition) male to female sex ratio was 1:1.14 with 31 yearlings and 46 kids to per 100 females while in winter it was 1:0.9 with 54 yearlings and 80 kids per 100 females. Adult sex ratio in the population was almost at unity. Groups (typical size=18, mean size=13, range 1-40 in winter and 1-49 in spring) were mostly comprised of mixed herds (90%) while female-young, female and male groups were rarely encountered. The mean group size and group type did not varied significantly across different seasons and habitat types. However large males were relatively more frequent in snow-covered areas while kids and female-young groups in grassland. Despite a decade-long community-based conservation programme and having a good reproductive potential, the limited growth of Asiatic ibex population may be due to various factors such as severe winters, predation pressure and dietary competition with domestic stock, which need to be explored and dealt with appropriate conservation measures.


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