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Study of seasonal changes in habitat suitability of Caracal caracal schmitzi (Maschie 1812) in the central desert of Iran

Mohammad Ali Adibi, Mahmoud Karami, Mohammad Kaboli

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.5(3), 95-106, September 2014


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Caracal is one of 10 cat’s species in Iran that lives in plain and desert. Major changes in natural ecosystems and increasing desertification, threatens the habitat of Caracal and its symbiotic. This research aim was to assess the suitability of Caracal`s habitat in different seasons to determine the most important factors that leads to seasonal selection of habitat. Presence data of Caracal were collected during 10 years and maps of effective environmental factors was prepared (slope, aspect, height, water resources, vegetation, land cover, prey and competitor’s distribution map). Results showed best model with highest accuracy for seasonal distribution of Caracal belongs to summer (AUC= 0.835). Water and vegetation have the most participation in this model (54% and 21.5 %respectively). Also winter has the lowest efficiency compared with other models (AUC = 0.772) and its most effective variables are vegetation and competitors (27.4 % and 26.8 % respectively). This study suggests the importance of vegetation in different season as shelter and ambush for Caracal and its prey. Caracal depends on the water in the summer, but in other seasons it needs less and in winter is lowest (0%). Totally the area of Caracal habitat in different seasons is various due to changes in priority of affective variables. As a result, in the summer, according to limited water suitable habitat is minimized and in autumn, it is maximum (8.2% and 44.2% of total area respectively). Accordingly, efforts to the development of suitable habitat of Caracal can be focused on improving the limiting factors of water and vegetation in the Kavir National Park.


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