Habitat suitability modeling for wild goat (Capra aegagrus) in a mountainous arid area, central Iran

Authors

1 *, A.R. Yavari2, M.R. Hemami3, H.R. Jafari2, B. Shams-Esfandabad 4

2 J. Sarhangzadeh1*, , M.R. Hemami3, H.R. Jafari2, B. Shams-Esfandabad 4

3 J. Sarhangzadeh1*, A.R. Yavari2, M.R. Hemami3, H.R. Jafari2, B. Shams-Esfandabad 4

Abstract

Wild goat (Capra aegagrus) is one of the most prominent mountain mammals dispersed in many habitats in Iran. However, few studies on the relationship between this species and its habitat have been conducted. This species is recognized as one of the main food source for highly endangered species such as cheetah and leopard. In this study which lasted from fall 2009 through summer 2011, seasonal habitat suitability models of wild goat in the protected area of Kouh-e-Bafgh were created. The binary logistic regression analysis comparing ecological characteristics of presence and absence points with ecological characteristics of the region have been applied. Wild goat habitat use was influenced by steep slopes, rocky substrates, and distance to water sources, vegetation, aspects and human resources (roads). Applied models could predict at least 94.7% of the model evaluation points, indicating high accuracy of the models. Suitable habitats for wild goat in protected area of Kouh-e-Bafgh were classified in different seasons based on the estimated optimal cut-off value for each model. It comprised 29.5% to 41.3% of the protected area. There was a substantial overlap between seasonal suitable habitats in different seasons, with the highest overlap between spring and summer. The overlap between suitable habitats was at least 71.6% in all seasons. The most suitable habitats of wild goat and its predator were in the core zones of the study area.

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