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Integr Zool. 2015 Jul;10(4):365-75. doi: 10.1111/1749-4877.12140.

Social structure and space use of Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in Southern Russian Far East based on GPS telemetry data.

Author information

1
A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia.
2
Institute of Biology and Soil Sciences, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Vladivostok, Russia.
3
Wildlife Conservation Society, Vladivostok, Russia.
4
V.L. Komarov Ussuriskii State Nature Reserve, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Ussurisk, Russia.

Abstract

To better understand the spatial structure of Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) at the southern edge of their range we fitted 14 tigers (6♀♀ and 8♂♂) with 15 GPS-Argos collars between 2008 and 2011 in 2 study sites: the Ussuriskii Reserve of southern Sikhote-Alin and the Land of the Leopard National Park in southwest Primorye, Russian Far East. Fixed kernel estimates of male home ranges were larger than those of female home ranges (P < 0.05 [mean 95% fixed kernel(♀) = 401 ± 205 km(2) ; mean 95% fixed kernel(♂) = 778 ± 267 km(2)]). The home range size of females varied greatly, but on average was similar to estimates derived from earlier work further north. Low overlap of adjacent home ranges suggested that females retained exclusive territories. Real core areas of females overlapped only slightly, and remained stable over multiple years. The home ranges of adult males were smaller than those of males to the north, and in contrast to previous studies, high overlap among males indicated the absence of territoriality. Nonetheless, real core areas of males did not overlap, suggesting some spatial separation. In comparison to other tiger populations and other areas of the Russian Far East, the sex ratio in our 2 study areas was highly skewed towards males. We believe this skewed sex ratio resulted in the dissolution of territoriality of males due to an inability to defend individual females, with males resorting to scramble competition for mates. Continued monitoring of these sites to determine whether shifts in the sex ratio might result in a return to male territoriality would provide confirmation of our tentative hypothesis.

KEYWORDS:

Amur tiger; GPS-Argos telemetry; Panthera tigris altaica; home range overlap; sex ratio; social structure; space use

PMID:
26037451
DOI:
10.1111/1749-4877.12140
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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