Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 959–967 | Cite as

Activity patterns and resource partitioning: seven species at watering sites in the Altun Mountains, China

  • Yadong Xue
  • Jia Li
  • Guli Sagen
  • Yu Zhang
  • Yunchuan Dai
  • Diqiang LiEmail author


As part of a larger project to examine the richness and distribution of wildlife in Kumtag Desert area, we conducted camera trapping surveys during the period 2010–2012 at seven watering sites in an arid region of the Altun Mountains in western China. Information on activity patterns of the wild bactrian camel (Camelus ferus), kiang (Equus kiang), goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), argali (Ovis ammon), blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and wolf (Canis lupus) was obtained. We found that the wild camel, kiang, goitered gazelle, argali, and blue sheep were predominantly diurnal at watering sites, whereas red fox and wolf were nocturnal. Five herbivores partitioned the use of watering sites in a temporal manner to minimize the risk of predation by carnivores. The wild camel was the dominant herbivorous species at the watering sites. The kiang, goitered gazelle, argali, and blue sheep displayed adaptive water use by altering spatial or temporal patterns based on the presence or absence of wild camel, to minimize the risk of interspecific strife. These results are suggestive of the differences in activity patterns that might modulate water partitioning by different species, and provide insights for the development of conservation strategies for integrated species and decisions regarding water development in the Altun Mountains.


camera trapping competition desert animal interaction watering site niche partitioning 


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This study was funded by National Nonprofit Institute Research Grant of Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAFYBB2011003). We appreciate the work of YANG Hailong in his previous study on wild camels that provided very important information on sites for camera trapping. We thank Mamulihan MUHATI and DUAN Hailin for their help during fieldwork. We also thank the Administrative Bureau of Xinjiang Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve and the Administrative Bureau of Gansu Annanba Wild Camel National Nature Reserve for their support of this study.


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Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yadong Xue
    • 1
  • Jia Li
    • 1
  • Guli Sagen
    • 2
  • Yu Zhang
    • 1
  • Yunchuan Dai
    • 1
  • Diqiang Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and ProtectionChinese Academy of ForestryBeijingChina
  2. 2.Administrative Bureau of Xinjiang Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature ReserveUrumqiChina

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