Evaluation of habitat quality and determining the distribution of Wild goat (Capra aegagrus) in Roodbarak prohibited hunting region, Kelardasht, Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Guilan, Sowmeh Sara, Iran



In this study, we assessed the seasonal habitat suitability of Wild goat, Capra aegagrus in Roodbarak prohibited hunting region, located in Kelardasht, Northern Iran. We applied environmental variables including topographic factors (altitude, slope, and aspect), climatic factors (average rainfall and average monthly temperature), anthropogenic factors (distance from villages and roads), vegetation type, and water resources to analyse the connection of the species presence with its habitat. To model the species distribution, we benefitted from the three following modelling algorithms using biomod package implemented in R programming language: Generalized Linear Model (GLM), Generalized Boosted Models (GBM), and Random Forest (RF). The results of all models indicated altitude as a determining factor in wild goat’s habitat for all seasons in the studied area. In addition, climatic variables were critical in forming the species habitat in spring, summer and autumn. Moreover, in winter, distance to springs exhibited a significant impact. Applying the results of such ecological studies of habitat evaluation along with population surveys can be crucial in the species and consequently ecosystem conservation.  


Abbasian, H, Kiabi, BH & Kavousi, K 2004, Food habits of Wild Goat, Capra aegagrus aegagrus, in the Khorramdasht area, Kelardasht, Iran. Zoology in the Middle East, 33: 119-124.
Breiman, L 1997, Arcing the edge, Technical Report 486, Statistics Department, University of California, Berkeley.
Breiman, L 2001, Random Forest. Berkley, Statistics Department University of California.
Breiman, L, Cutler, A 2007, Random forests-classification description. Department of Statistics, Berkeley 2.
DeVoe, JD, Garrott, RA, Rotella, JJ, Challender, SR, White, PJ, O'Reilly, MB, & Butler, CJ 2015, Summer range occupancy modeling of non-native mountain goats in the greater Yellowstone area. Ecosphere, 6: 1-20.
Dormann, CF, Elith, J, Bachen, S et al. 2013, Collinearity: R review of methods to deal with it and a simulation study evaluating their performance. Ecography, 36: 27-46.
Farashi, A, Kaboli, M & Momeni, I 2010, Habitat suitability modeling for wild goat Capra aegagrus in Kolah Ghazi National Park, Esfahan Province. Iran Natural Resources, 63: 63-73.
Feng, X, Park, DS, Liang Y, Pandey R, Papes M 2019, Collinearity in ecological niche modeling: Confusions and challenges, Ecology and Evolution, 9: 10365-10376.
Fook, KD, Amaral, S, Monteiro, AM, Câmara, G, Ximenes, AD & Arasato, LS 2009, Making species distribution models available on the web for reuse in biodiversity experiments: Euterpe edulis species case study. Sociedade and Natureza, 21: 39-49.
Friedman, JH 2001, Greedy function approximation: a gradient boosting machine. Annals of statistics, 29: 1189-1232.
Gross, JE, Kneeland, MC, Reed, DF, & Reich, RM 2002, GIS-based habitat models for mountain goats. Journal of Mammalogy, 83: 218-228.
Guisan A, Zimmermann NE 2000, Predictive habitat distribution models in ecology. Ecological Modelling, 135: 147-186.
Guisan A, Thuiller W 2005, Predicting species distribution: offering more than simple habitat models. Ecology Letters, 8: 993-1009.
Heikkinen RK, Luoto M, Kuussaari M et al. 2007, Modelling the spatial distribution of a threatened butterfly: impacts of scale and statistical technique. Landscape and Urban Planning, 79: 347-357.
Hirzel, A, and Guisan, A 2002, Which is the optimal sampling strategy for habitat suitability modelling. Ecological Modelling, 157: 331-341.
Hosseini, S, Riazi, B, Shams Esfandabad, B & Naderi, M 2016, Assessing habitat suitability for Wild goat in Golestan National Park. Animal Environment, 9: 9-16.
Jones-Farrand, DT, Fearer, TM, Thogmartin, WE, Nelson, MD & Tirpak, JM 2011, Comparison of statistical and theoretical habitat models for conservation planning, the benefit of ensemble prediction. Ecological Applications, 21: 2269-2282.
Khan,  G,  Khan, B,  Qamer,  FM,  Abbas,  S,  Khan,  A, & Xi, C  2016, Himalayan ibex (Capra ibex sibirica) habitat suitability and range resource dynamics in the Central Karakorum National Park, Pakistan. King Saud University-Science, 28: 245-254.
Kienast, F., Bolliger, J., & Zimmermann, N. E 2012, Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) with GLM, GAM and CART. Lecture Notes, 24: 1-16.
Le Lay, G, Engler, R, Franc, E & Guisan, A 2010, Prospective sampling based on model ensembles improves the detection of rare species. Ecography, 33: 1015-1027.
Majnoonian, H 1993, National parks and protected areas, values, functions & characteristics, Department of the Environment, Tehran, 440 p. [In Persian].
Marmion, M, Parviainen, M, Luoto, M, Heikkinen, RK & Thuiller, W 2009, Evaluation of consensus methods in predictive species distribution modelling. Diversity and Distributions, 15: 59-69.
Moravati, MM 2014, Desirable areas and effective environmental factors of wild goat habitat (Capra aegagrus). International Journal of Environmental Research, 4: 1031-1040.
Mostafavi, S. M., Alizadeh, A., Kaboli, M., Karami, M., Goljani, R., & Mohammadi, S 2010, Spring and summer habitat suitability mapping for wild goat (Capra aegagrus aegagrus) in Lar National Park. Journal of Sciences and Techniques in Natural Resources, 5: 111-121.
Naderi, G, Saadati, H, Khalatbari, M, Imani, A, & Riazi, B 2014, Wild Bezoar Goat (Capra aegagrus Erxleben) in Agh-Dagh Protected Area, Ardabil, Iran: Habitat Suitability Modelling by Ecological Niche Factor Analysis. Acta zoologica Bulgarica, 66: 385-388.
Roura-Pascual N, Brotons L, Peterson AT et al. 2009, Consensual predictions of potential distributional areas for invasive species, a case study of Argentine ants in the Iberian Peninsula. Biological Invasions, 11: 1017-1031,
Sarhangzadeh, A, Yavari, M & Hemami, H 2013, Habitat suitability modeling for wild goat (Capra aegagrus) in a mountainous arid area, central Iran. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences. 11: 41-51.
Shadloo, S, & Naderi, S 2019, Prediction of habitat suitability for wild goat, Capra aegagrus (Erxleben, 1777) in Kavir National Park, Semnan Province, Iran. Iranian Journal of Animal Biosystematics, 15: 15.
Shams Esfandabad, B, Karami, M, Hemami, MR, Riazi, B, Sadough, MB 2010, Habitat associations of wild goat in central Iran: implications for conservation. European Journal of Wildlife, 56(6): 883-894.
Thuiller, W 2003, BIOMOD–optimizing predictions of species distributions and projecting potential future shifts under global change. Global Change Biology, 9: 1353-1362.
Thuiller, W, Lafourcade, B, Engler, R & Araújo, MB 2009, BIOMOD–a platform for ensemble forecasting of species distributions. Ecography, 32: 369-373.
Thuiller, W & Münkemüller, T 2010, Habitat suitability modeling, Effects of climate change on birds, Oxford University Press, 77-85.
Weinberg, PJ 2008, Capra aegagrus (Bezoar, Wild Goat) Retrieved from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/3786/0.