How do two giant panda populations adapt to their habitats in the Qinling and Qionglai Mountains, China

Xiaoji Liu, Tiejun Wang, Ting Wang, A.K. Skidmore, Melissa Songer

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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The spatial separation of the Qinling Mountains from the western mountains has caused morphological and genetic distinctions of giant pandas. Could this separation also cause the pandas’ behavior change? In this research, we focused on the pandas’ movement pattern and selected two wild panda groups in Foping and Wolong Nature Reserves (NR) to represent the populations in the Qinling and Qionglai Mountains, respectively. We hypothesized that the Qinling pandas have developed a different seasonal movement pattern compared with the pandas in the western mountains. We analyzed the radio tracking data from two NRs by using GIS. Our results showed the following significant differences: (1) The Foping pandas live most of the year in the low elevation areas and move higher during June and remain through August while the Wolong pandas live most of the year in the high elevation areas and move lower in April and stay through June; (2) Comparing their low and high elevational areas shows the distinct spatial patterns between reserves, forming two obviously separated clusters in Foping but a single-compact cluster in Wolong; (3) Foping pandas move an average of 425 m ± 147 s.d. daily, while Wolong pandas move an average of 550 m ± 343 s.d. daily; and (4) Three habitat factors (i.e., terrain, temperature, and bamboo nutrient) were taken as the driving forces and analyzed, and they showed a strong support explanation to these different movement behaviors of pandas in two NRs. Our findings have important implications for management, for instance, it needs to be careful considering the behavior difference of the pandas when reintroducing them to the wild
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1185
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental science and pollution research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2015


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