Vol. 51 No. 4, 2012
Niche Relationships of Carnivores in a Subtropical Primary Forest in Southern Taiwan
Po-Jen Chiang1,*, Kurtis Jai-Chyi Pei2, Michael R. Vaughan1, and Ching-Feng Li3
1Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2Institute of Wildlife Conservation, National Pingtung Univ. of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 912, Taiwan
3Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk Univ., 61137 Brno, Czech Republic
Po-Jen Chiang, Kurtis Jai-Chyi Pei, Michael R. Vaughan, and Ching-Feng Li (2012)
Carnivores are at the higher trophic levels and have garnered much
attention in conservation and management efforts. In this study, we
attempted to understand resource partitioning among sympatric
carnivores existing in a primary forest with minimal human disturbance
in southern Taiwan by camera trapping after the disappearance of the
top carnivore, the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa).
Niche relationships were studied in terms of habitat, diet, and time
dimensions. Six carnivore species were recorded, but the Asiatic black
bear (Ursus thibetanus formosanus)
was very rare. Canonical correspondence analysis of photographic rates
and habitat factors of the other 5 carnivores showed that elevation was
the strongest factor explaining the composition of the carnivore
community in the habitat dimension. Carnivores could be divided into 3
groups. The low- to mid-elevation group consisted of the gem-faced palm
civet (Paguma larvata taivana) and crab-eating mongoose (Herpestes urva formosanus)
which had contrasting activity patterns and different diets; the mid-
to high-elevation group consisted of yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula chrysospila) and Siberian weasel (Mustela sibirica taivana).
These 2 mustelids had similar diets, but Siberian weasels tended to
avoid yellow-throated martens temporally. The Formosan ferret badger (Melogale moschata subaurantiaca)
was more widely distributed along the elevational gradient. Ferret
badgers partitioned resource use in either diet, activity patterns, or
other habitat gradients from the other carnivores. Niche segregation
and complementary resource use were observed in these 5 carnivores.
Key words: Activity pattern, Complementary resource use, Niche segregation, Sympatric carnivores.
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