Mammals community of Khangai Ecoregion, Central Mongolia
The KNNP is known to offer a refuge to medium and large rare and elusive mammal species, as Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica), Argali (Ovis ammon), Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), the Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) the Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus), the Wolverine (Gulo gulo), the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus), the Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul) (BirdLife International, 2018).
The variety of habitats including Alpine vegetation (fig. 1), and forest-steppe (the lowest latitude in Mongolia) (fig. 2). The plants species are typical of the Mongolian forest and steppe, including trees species such as the Siberian Larch (Larix sibirica), Siberian pine (Pinus sibiraca), and herbaceous species, such as Euphorbia sp., Arthemisia sp., and Festuca sp.
As a part of a wider multi-year project implemented by Green Initiative NGO in collaboration with other Mongolians and foreigners Institutions, a survey in the Khangai Nuruu National Park (KNNP), in the South of Arkhangai Aimag, has been conducted, in order to analyze the mammal community diversity and assess the presence of rare and elusive species.
The project has been implemented by Green Initiative NGO (Mongolia), the University of Florence (Italy), and the Institute of General and Experimental Biology of the National University of Mongolia, with the support of the local environmental office.
We used a multiple-methods, which may better perform to collect the baseline information on the whole mammal community (Augugliaro et al. in review). The activities to collect data included: camera trapping to study the mid-large mammal, live-trapping to collect data on small mammals (i. e. < 1 kg as adult) and occasional observations.
We covered an altitudinal range from 2200 to 3000 m a.s.l. between valleys bottom and ridges. The cameras were left in the field from 50 to 63 days (min.-max.).
Due to the terrain conditions the accessibility was very difficult and we sampled a relatively small area, including a suitable potential habitat for SL. The study area covered approximately 60 km2 in 2 main zones falling in the Northern KNNP. We stratified the sample setting approximately the same number of camera traps, between the forest patches and the Alpine rocky area up to the trees line.