Table of Content

    30 September 2023, Volume 43 Issue 5
    Analysis of factors influencing vigilance and physiological stress in Przewalski’s gazelle
    LIU Ruoshuang, SHI Jianbin, LIU Dingzhen, SHEN Xinchen, WANG Qingqing, XU Xuefei, GUO Dongsheng, DONG Shikui, ZHANG Yu, HE Yubang, WU Yonglin
    2023, 43(5):  479-488.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150765
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    Animals develop physiological and behavioral responses to cope with natural stressors (e. g., predators) or anthropogenic stressors (e. g., road traffic). However, these responses may affect the health and survival of individuals, leading to a range of serious wildlife conservation problems. Elevated glucocorticoid concentration and increased vigilance are two common responses to predation risk in mammals. Chronic high-level glucocorticoid concentration and vigilance occur at the expense of other life maintenance and reproduction activities, reflecting a trade-off between individual survival and future fecundity. In this study, a non-invasive sampling method was employed to collect fresh fecal samples from female Przewalski’s gazelles (Procapra przewalskii) and the cortisol concentrations in the samples were measured using ELISA. Focal-animal all-occurrence sampling and scan sampling of behavior were applied to collect data on the vigilance behaviour of female gazelles. Generalized linear mixed model was used to investigate the effects of different types of stressors on the fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) concentration and vigilance of female Przewalski’s gazelles. In wild Przewalski’s gazelle populations, reproductive status was the main factor influencing FGMs and vigilance (F = 39. 162, P < 0. 001), with higher FGMs and vigilance behavior in the lambing season than the rutting season. Anthropogenic stressors were important factors affecting FGMs of female Przewalski’s gazelles, with road and railway traffic contributing more to their physiological stress than natural predators and grassland fences (F = 87. 482, P < 0. 001). The negative impact of socio-economic development on wildlife is an inevitable challenge for Przewalski’s gazelle conservation. We should undertake great efforts to balance socio-economic development and wildlife conservation, and build a harmonious community for both humans and nature.
    Habitat suitability evaluation and corridor construction for sika deer (Cervus nippon hortulorum) in southern Laoyeling, Heilongjiang Province
    WANG Qifan, CHEN Hong, NIU Yingying, ZHANG Zidong, LIANG Zhuo, TIAN Xinmin, ZHANG Minghai, ZHOU Shaochun
    2023, 43(5):  489-500.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150766
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    Sika deer is mainly distributed in southern Laoyeling of Heilongjiang Province, China. In order to protect and recover this species, conducting habitat suitability evaluation and building ecological corridors connecting core habitat patches are the basis for population conservation and recovery of this species in the future. In this study, 763 sika deer occurrence locations were collected by large-sample plot survey and camera monitoring during 2018 - 2021. The habitat suitability of sika deer in the region was evaluated using the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model and migration corridors for sika deer were identified and planned using the Least-Cost Path (LCP) analysis method. The contribution of environmental variables to the MaxEnt model indicated that rivers, forest trails, evergreen coniferous forests, roads, and residential areas accounted for 77. 3% to the model cumulatively and were the key factors influencing the distribution of sika deer. The results of the habitat suitability analysis showed that the suitable habitat area of sika deer was 1 055. 62 km2 in southern Laoyeling, Heilongjiang Province, accounting for 27. 38% of the study area. The suitable habitats were mainly concentrated in the Heilongjiang Muling Taxus National Nature Reserve in the southwestern part and Dongning Chaoyanggou Forestry Farm, Suiyang Sanchahe and Nuanquanhe Forestry Farm in the southeastern part, while the suitable habitats in the central part of the study area were severely fragmented and distributed in strips pattern. The decrease of suitable habitat area and fragmentation may be the key factors influencing negatively the wild sika deer population. Based on the results of the habitat suitability analysis and the distribution of the deer population, four core habitat patches with a total area of 705. 22 km2 were identified and three ecological corridors with a total length of 84. 43 km and a minimum width of 600 m were delineated for the migration of sika deer. The research results provide scientific basis for the wildlife conservation department to carry out the recovery of wild sika deer population, and serve to accelerate the region's biodiversity conservation in China.
    Activity rhythm and home range of released sika deer (Cervus nippon kopschi)
    LI Yaoyu, CHEN Xinyang, ZHAO Shanshan, SONG Xiao, GUO Rui, XU Aichun
    2023, 43(5):  501-512.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150762
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    The release of animals back into the wild is an important way to ensure the long-term survival of threatened middle and large-sized wildlife species in conservation biology. Study on the activity rhythm and home range characteristic of animals released in the wild is conducive to scientific management. In this study, we take sika deer (Cervus nippon kopschi), Category I Key National Protected Wild Animal Species, as study species. We used Beidou Satellite collar to track activities of released individuals in Qingliangfeng National Nature Reserve of Zhejiang Province. The analysis of its activity rhythm was based on the accumulation of 21 854 high-precision tracking records. We also used the Minimum Convex Polygon method (MCP) and Kernel Density Estimation method (KDE) to study the characteristics of its home range. The results showed that: (1) The daily activity rhythm of sika deer after being released exhibits a bimodal pattern. It peaked in the morning between 06: 00 - 09: 00 and in the evening between 15: 00 - 21: 00. (2) We detected seasonal differences in activity intensity, which was greater in autumn than that in spring, winter, and summer. (3) Home range area is (1534. 10 ±467. 75) hm2 based on the MCP method. The 95% and 50% home ranges are (125. 18 ±95. 55) hm2 and (18. 24 ±15. 12) hm2 based on the KDE method. (4) The home range area (95% KDE) of sika deer is significantly different between seasons (P < 0. 01), which is maximum in autumn and minimum in summer. (5) The overlap index shows that the average overlap index of male and female (OI = 0. 44) is higher than that of the same sex (OIbetween male = 0. 38, OIbetween female = 0. 14), and population competition has a certain influence on the formation of home range. We recommend that the key home range area of sika deer in autumn and winter should be paid more attention in the follow-up management, for example, increasing the frequency of patrols, reducing disturbances, and continuing food feeding in winter.
    Population size and distribution of western black crested gibbon (Nomascus concolor) in Ailao Mountain, Chuxiong Prefecture, Yunnan Province
    LI Genhui, QIN Zhongyi, LU Lixiong, GAO Wenjun, LUO Wenfu, LI Han, LI Yuwu, YIN Cunquan, XU Ping, YIN Guanghua, LI Fabao, NIU Xiaowei, JIANG Xuelong
    2023, 43(5):  513-522.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150749
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    From November to December 2020, we conducted the second field survey on the population and distribution of the western black crested gibbon (Nomascus concolor) in Ailao Mountain, Chuxiong Prefecture, Yunnan by interviews and loud morning calls counting method. The survey recorded 61 groups and 14 individuals of western black crested gibbon, a total of about 270 individuals in the National Nature Reserve and its surrounding state forest areas. The gibbon population was mainly found (59 groups and 13 individuals) from the central part of Chuxiong City to the south part of Shuangbai County, while from the central to the north part of Nanhua County it was represented by a small isolated population (two groups and one individual). Compared with the previous survey in 2005, the population of the western black crested gibbon in Ailao Mountains, Chuxiong Prefecture increased significantly but still facing threats from population isolation and human disturbance such as grazing by cattle and goats. According to the current population and distribution pattern, we propose to conduct long-term population dynamic monitoring for concentrated populations, regular and irregular patrolling for isolated and marginal distributed groups, habitat assessment and restoration, and assign the groups in state forests managed by national nature reserve management and protection bureau for protection and conservation of western black crested gibbons in Ailao Mountains, Chuxiong Prefecture, Yunnan.
    Estimating the population size of wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Kaihua County, Zhejiang Province using camera-trapping data
    CHEN Xiaonan, TIAN Jia, LIU Mingzhang, SHEN Yunyi, YU Jianping, LIU Feng, SHEN Xiaoli, LI Sheng
    2023, 43(5):  523-532.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150785
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    Wild boar (Sus scrofa) has high fecundity and strong adaptability to various environments. In recent years, the populations of wild boar in China have been increasing dramatically, causing numerous human-wildlife conflicts primarily due to crop damages and people injuries by the boars. To provide a scientific basis for future planned hunting and population management, we took Kaihua County, Zhejiang Province as an example to estimate the population size of wild boar using camera-trapping data. The camera-trapping data, collected during September and October 2020, contained 964 independent records of wild boar from 429 camera stations with an extensive sampling effort of 23 690 camera days. We used the Royle-Nichols model, combining environmental factors including terrain, vegetation and human impacts and the species’home range parameter, to estimate the population and distribution of wild boars in Kaihua. The results showed that the population size of wild boar within the study area was estimated as 5548 ±2343 (mean ±95% C. I. ), with an average density of 2. 38 ±0. 61 (mean ±SD) ind. /km2, which was negatively associated with altitude and resident density, and slightly positively associated with forest coverage. Based on the results, we suggest that wild boar hunting, as a management measure to control its population, in the study area should be conducted in farmland, plantations, and ecotone areas of forest and farmland, where the boar densities are high. In the future, local administrations and the Qianjiangyuan National Park shall integrate data from the systematically designed camera-trapping network, as well as those from hunting records and other sources, into this management framework, so that the population dynamics model of target species can be continuously updated and improved, and a long-term population dynamics monitoring system can be established.
    Spatial and temporal distribution patterns of mammal diversity in alpine ecosystems: a case study in Xuebaoding area of Giant Panda National Park
    ZHANG Rumei, ZHANG Qing, YANG Xiao, ZHANG Farui, ZHAO Ding, PANG Dehong, YANG Kong, GUAN Tianpei
    2023, 43(5):  533-543.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150770
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    The alpine ecosystem has nurtured special biodiversity due to its unique geographical conditions and is one of the important ecosystem types in the Giant Panda National Park. We summarized data from 83 infrared cameras deployed in Xuebaoding area (3 300 - 4 500 m above sea level) of Giant Panda National Park from April to October 2019 and 2021, and analyzed the diversity and spatio-temporal characteristics of alpine mammals to fill knowledge gaps on alpine ecosystems and support conservation management and scientific research. A total of 2 365 independent photos of mammals were taken, recording 16 species in 9 families and 5 orders. Among the detected species, two are classified as first-class National Protected Wildlife, and 7 are listed as second-class National Protected Wildlife. Of the 16 mammal species, one, four, and two are categorized as Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), and Nearly Threatened (NT) by the IUCN Red List, respectively. The results show significant spatial and temporal dynamics of mammal diversity in alpine ecosystems. The number of species recorded by a single infrared camera in the growing season (2.80 ±0.16) was significantly higher than that at the start of the growing season (1.15 ±0.14, P < 0.01) and at the end of the growing season (1.51 ±0.13, P < 0.01). Similarly, the relative abundance index of mammals in the growing season (23.52 ±3.05) was significantly higher than that at the start of the growing season (4.75 ±0.74, P < 0.01) and at the end of the growing season (6.56 ±0.98, P < 0.01) according to the Wilcoxon rank-sum test. The cumulative number of species ceased to increase after 4 100 m and remained at 16 species. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H') for the whole monitoring area was 2.13, and both the diversity index and relative abundance index (RAI) decreased gradually with increasing altitude. Six mammal species (Ochotona thibetana, Ochotona erythrotis, Marmota himalayana, Pseudois nayaur, Vulpes vulpes, Mustela altaica) were only recorded in the area above the forest line during the survey compared with the data recorded at 1 800 - 3 200 m, implying that these species are more dependent on the alpine environment. The seasonal utilization of alpine environment by five mammal species, including Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana), indicates spatio-temporal heterogeneity on species diversity in Xuebaoding area and likely reflects the effects of resource seasonal variation. The use of alpine habitats by forest-dwelling and domesticated animals during the growing season will reduce the habitat suitability of Bharal and threaten the maintenance of endemic biodiversity. Therefore, the Giant Panda National Park should strengthen the protection and management of the alpine ecosystem.
    Group behavior and seasonal changes of Capra sibirica in Urad Desert, Inner Mongolia
    SONG Yuhao, BI Junhuai, Wensuyaletu, WANG Guolin, LI Feng, Lü Wenbing, ZHOU Yifan, PAN Xingxing, ZHANG Ruidong
    2023, 43(5):  544-552.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150731
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    This study investigates the main factors affecting the population dynamics and cluster size of Capra sibirica and provides a basis for its research and conservation. Infrared cameras technology was used to asses cluster types, sizes, and seasonal differences of Capra sibirica from November 2020 to November 2021 in the desert area of Urad, Inner Mongolia. 648 groups represented by 1 187 individuals were recorded and divided into 5 cluster types: mixed age/sex groups (65 groups, 10. 0%), adult female groups (13 groups, 2. 0%), ewe-lamb groups (103 groups, 15. 9%), adult male groups (81 groups, 12. 5%) and solitary adult males/females (386 groups, 59. 6%). The average group size was 1. 83 ±1. 45, varying from 1 to 11. The number of individuals per group with the highest frequency was 1 - 3. In general, the frequency of group occurrence and seasonal differences were significant (P < 0. 001). The seasonal discrepancies in the frequency of different group sizes were also highly significant (P < 0. 001). However, the mean cluster sizes differed between cool and warm seasons. The results indicated that habitat type is the main factor affecting the cluster size of Capra sibirica, and its population dynamics are affected by seasonal changes of food resources and its reproductive cycle. It is suggested that conservation areas should be established by the local government. Actions such as controlling or transferring some of the livestock within the range of the Capra sibirica distribution, reducing human interference, and improving ecological environment management should be taken into consideration.
    Inhibition of bile acid metabolism in plateau zokor (Myospalax baileyi) and plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) in high-altitude environments
    ZHANG Jiayu, AN Zhifang, WANG Zhijie, CHEN Xiaoqi, WEI Dengbang
    2023, 43(5):  553-567.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150805
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    The plateau zokor (Myospalax baileyi) and plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae), which are native to the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, inhabit hypoxic meadows that pose unique physiological challenges. Bile acids are amphipathic steroid metabolites that not only facilitate intestinal absorption of lipids and fat-soluble vitamins, but also act as hormones capable of reaching virtually every organ to regulate glycometabolism, lipid metabolism, and energy homeostasis, which are related to the adaptation of animals to the environments. In this study, the composition and contents of bile acids in the serum of plateau zokors and plateau pikas were analyzed by targeting metabolomics. The Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were used as control and the expression levels of the key genes of bile acids anabolism were determined by real-time PCR. The results showed that the total bile acid contents in the serum of plateau zokors and plateau pikas decreased markedly than that of SD rats. With increasing altitude, the bile acid contents of zokors and pikas decreased significantly, and that of zokors reduced remarkably compared to that of pikas. The expression levels of the key genes of primary bile acids including CYP7A1, CYP8B1, CYP27A1, and CYP7B1 decreased significantly in livers of zokors and pikas. The bile acids of SD rats were synthesized by the classic or neutral bile acid pathway, but that of zokors and pikas were produced by the alternative or acidic pathway. These results suggest that high-altitude environments inhibit the anabolism of primary bile acids and that hypoxia might be the main inhibiting factor. The no-12-OH bile acids and the unconjugated secondary bile acids were the main products and the glycine conjugated bile acids were the main bile acids in the serum of zokors and pikas. Particularly, the contents of lithocholic acid (LCA) bile acids were significantly higher than that of pikas and SD rats in serum which might be related to its adaptation to the higher energy expenditure of burrowing activities. In conclusion, the alternative pathway was the dominant pathway of primary bile acids in the liver of zokors and pikas, which might be a result of long-time adaptation to the highland environments.
    Dissecting potential mechanisms of lactate-dependent Sertoli cell proliferation and gene expression
    ZHANG Xiaona, JIA Gongxue, WU Shixin, WAN Ruidong, WANG Yujun, YANG Qien
    2023, 43(5):  568-579.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150778
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    Sertoli cells proliferate in fetal and neonatal testes and remain quiescent in adult life. Functional evidence suggests that the size of the Sertoli cell population determines sperm production and fertility. However, the factors that regulate Sertoli cell proliferation and maturation are not fully understood. Lactate, which is secreted by Sertoli cells via lactate dehydrogenase, plays a critical role in cell fate determination. We found that Ldha mRNA is present in mouse testes and immunohistochemical staining confirmed that LDHA is enriched in Sertoli cells. To study the function of LDHA in Sertoli cells, we prepared a conditional knockout mouse model using Amh-Cre and Ldhafl/fl mice. The results showed that LDHA deficiency resulted in a significant reduction in the number of Sertoli cells, which was (18. 27 ±0. 60) /cell in Ldha-cKO mice compared to (21. 1 ±0. 68) /cell in control mice. Further analysis revealed that the proliferative capacity of Sertoli cells in Ldha-cKO mice decreased by 17. 0% and 9. 0% at Embryonic day 16. 5 and Day 0, respectively, while cell apoptosis increased by 86. 9% and 459. 0%, respectively. After incubation with 10 mmol/L lactic acid for 24 h, 936 significantly differentially expressed genes were identified in Sertoli cells of the knockout mouse, of which 695 were upregulated and 241 were downregulated. GO and KEGG enrichment analyses revealed that the MAPK pathway and PI3K-AKT signaling pathway were upregulated, while DNA replication and oxidative phosphorylation were downregulated. Hence, it can be concluded that LDHA is expressed in mouse Sertoli cells and plays an important role in regulating Sertoli cell proliferation.
    Comparison of intestinal microbiota of golden-headed lion tamarins, golden-handed tamarins and cotton-headed tamarins under the same captive environment
    ZHANG Zeming, YAO Hongyu, WU Nan, ZHAO Lingling, GU Yiru, WANG Yu, WU Hong, ZHAO Dapeng
    2023, 43(5):  580-592.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150739
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    The composition of intestinal microbiota in animals is directly related to the host species and their living environment. Studies on intestinal microbiota composition of various species living in the same habitat is important for the conservation of species diversity. Both non-damage sampling and 16S rDNA high-throughput sequencing were used to investigate the structure, diversity, and functional prediction of intestinal microbiota across three species of New World monkeys (golden-headed lion tamarin Leontopithecus chrysomelas, golden-handed tamarin Saguinus midas, and cottonheaded tamarin Saguinus oedipus) from Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo. The results showed that a total of 14 phyla, 20 classes, 50 orders, 101 families, 231 genera, and 356 species of intestinal flora were obtained from 18 fecal samples collected from the three species. At the phylum level, the common dominant phyla across the three species were Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes. At the genus level, the common dominant bacterial genera included Streptococcus and Bifidobacterium. There were significant differences in intestinal microbiota at both the phylum level and the genus level among species, in which the richness of intestinal microbiota in golden-headed lion tamarin was significantly higher than that in the others. This study provides basic data for further investigation on the intestinal microbiota diversity and survival adaptation, and also serves as reference for ex situ management for species conservation.
    Population dynamics of wild Asian elephants over the past fifty years
    TANG Yongjing, YANG Cong, YANG Zicheng, CHEN Fei
    2023, 43(5):  593-607.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150768
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    The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the flagship species of tropical forest ecosystems in Asia and plays an important role in increasing species richness and maintaining ecosystem services. Affected by habitat loss and degradation, illegal poaching, and human-elephant conflict, the distribution and population size of the world’s wild Asian elephants have declined significantly compared to the past. In order to explore the distribution, population changes, and current conservation needs of wild Asian elephants, this paper reviews the research on the historical distribution, population dynamics, threat factors, traditional culture, laws and regulations, and conservation action plans of Asian elephants in South and Southeast Asia and China over the past 50 years, and draws the following conclusions: (1) In the past 50 years, the global wild Asian elephant population has shown an early trend of decline and then growth, followed by a continued decline between 1970 - 2000 and gradually increased between 2000 - 2010, and slow growth since 2010. (2) South Asia is an important area for stabilizing the global wild Asian elephant population, mainly due to timely legislative protection, strong traditional culture protection and other factors. The continuous decline of Asian elephant populations in Southeast Asia is mainly affected by deforestation and illegal poaching. The large-scale loss of forest habitat is the main reason for its continuous decline in Indonesia, Borneo, and other regions. The main reasons for the decline in Myanmar and Thailand are illegal poaching and smuggling. (3) The existing habitats in South Asia are relatively concentrated, there are more fragmented habitats in Southeast Asia, and Myanmar has more potential distribution areas. (4) At present, the main threats to wild Asian elephants are habitat loss and degradation, poaching and illegal trade, and human-elephant conflicts. In addition, problems associated with infrastructure construction, cross-border difficulties, and isolated populations cannot be ignored. Scientific and reasonable protection measures should be formulated taking into account the local challenges faced by Asian elephant populations, and on the basis of carrying out sufficient scientific research.
    The roles of brown adipose tissue in thermoregulatory mechanisms of hibernators
    SHANG Zhengwen, YANG Ming, WANG Dehua, XING Xin
    2023, 43(5):  608-619.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150772
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    Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a unique organ for adaptive thermogenesis of mammals to maintain constant body temperature. Maintaining a constant body temperature is energy costy, especially in cold environments. Hibernation is an effective energy-saving strategy for some small mammals during periods of scarce food resources and/or harsh environmental conditions. During hibernation, the body temperature of mammalian hibernators shows regular periodic cycles, which are called hibernation bouts. One hibernation bout consists of entrance, deep hibernation, arousal and euthermia. In this revew, we introducs the thermoregulatory mechanism of BAT in mammals, including the neural control of BAT thermogenesis by the central nervous system and the molecular pathways of heat production signals in BAT cells. Subsequently, we follow the order of the thermoregulatory cycle to describe the thermogenic mechanisms of BAT during the processes of entrance, deep hibernation, arousal, and euthermia, including the roles of adrenergic signaling, lipid metabolism, and mitochondrial respiration. Finally, the unique phenotype of BAT recruitment in fat-storing hibernating animals was described.
    Three new records of Crocidura anhuiensis for Fujian, Zhejiang and Hunan provinces
    YANG Siyu, XIE Fei, TANG Keyi, FU Changkun, LIU Yang, LIU Shaoying, CHEN Shunde
    2023, 43(5):  620-625.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150786
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    Crocidura anhuiensis was reported as a new species in 2019 with its type locality in Huang Mountain, Anhui Province. In this study, three shrew specimens were collected during field surveys in Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province, Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province and Mang Mountain, Hunan Province. According to the morphological and molecular identifications, these specimens were confirmed to be C. anhuiensis, which is a new record for the mammal fauna of Fujian, Zhejiang, and Hunan provinces. This discovery expands the distribution range and enriches the biogeographic data of C. anhuiensis.