Biology Forum Zoology Discussion Once upon a time in Daba Mountains

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      Thomasz Pietrzak
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      This is milestone chore. We searching uniques, that are believed to be incredible few and far between. We should change the point of view in field research. New age is revealling the natural world by our unconventional approach in conservation biology. There are needed immersive explorers dedicating their work for filling the gaps in knowledge of rare biological forms. We are using the current science for estimating population status and peculiar behaviour of selected species in the wild. The scientists will follow rare inhabitants on the ground by trucks and horsebacks. They will gather species-specific data by aerial survey and camera traps. The data will be scientifically described in field camp called Daba Center. Zoologists let’s start on board! The project is zoomed for seeking the populations of extraordinary animals recorded from the vast evergreen forest of Daba Mountains, located in southern Shaanxi, being our study site. We should not to ignore rare inhabitans but looking for them by remote sensing. This ecoregion is climatic and biogeographic boundary of transitional environments. We are on the track of unknown animals via non-invasive inventory, species i.e snub-nosed monkey, identifed as mythical yeren, and others animals such as small lagomorphs called Ochotona syrinx, unique wild dogs called whistling hunters and chinese serow (Capricornis milneedwardsii) – known for its original build, revealed in peculiar legends. In this part of the world we recorded crested ibis, native for the northern margin of the ecoregion. This species of bird was recovered from collapsing in 1981 when the population dropped to seven individuals. There are about 500 individuals in nature. The crested ibis has a bizzare adaptations and unique among birds, behavioural and morphological changes, if about the breeding season. Loss of habitat and low genetic diversity as main threats to this endemic population of bird, recorded also from Shaanxi. There is also a critically endangered species of vertebrate with 1.2 meter-long. This creature is scientifically known as Chinese giant salamander, amphibian that is more abundant here than anywhere else on Earth. Higher elevations of above 1,500 m.p.m in Shenningjia Nature Reserve support population of endemic hubeiensis subspecies of yeren, which is de facto specific kind of monkey, the animal under strict gov-based protection. The creature has awkward look-like. The subspecies is currently counted for 1,500 individuals. These animals survive heavy winter snow, crowd together in arboreal nests. They browse there for foliose lichens. Their nose is flattened, and the body is medium in size with long golden fur. There are high degree in sexual dimorphism in the species, and the home range are about 15 to 50 square kilometers. Another cryptic species is mountain wolf Cuon alpinus, recorded also from this vast pristine areas and small lagomorph called Tsing-ling pika, which is endemic to central chinese wilderness. Asiatic dholes or Cuon alpinus are rare canid occur in small packs in remote territories, known for their athletic possibilities and whistling behaviour. Endemic pika is poorly known species, seldom recorded in the wild. Other creature is ethno-known donkey-headed wolf, which could be in fact a chimera, mixed species creature partly recognized as chinese serow. But the legend is no scientific evidence proven yet. Vernacular name is come from the long ears and the head’s shape, and nostril are also being donkey-like. Serow is mysterious by nature and mainly lonely in habits, and usually remain hidden in a dense forest by day. It feeds on plants. Fur colour is used to be various between populations. The body is stocky, and animal has a mane. Giant salamanders are bodies of water inhabits the mountainous areas up to 1,300 m high. Little is known behaviour of these creatures. Animals are extremely territorial. They are active during the mid-evening. They weigth about 11 kg, and are heavy in build with short limbs. Average daily distance are about 300m. Natural world is fantastic menagerie of living beings. Project idea is looking for those outstanding diversity by camera traps and aerial vehicles. Higher elevations of Daba Mountains are intact, while lower levels are danger by fragmentation and human encroachment. Important threatened trail is highway corridor that passes via Shennongjia Reserve. Daba Mountains are regarded as a “paradigmatic example of a species museum.” IUCN professionals and other associations will be active somewhen towards revealing the nature of this territory.

      Published by Tomasz Pietrzak, BSc in biology, scientific author from Poland/EU.

      This is innovative text, servant for carrying capacity in wildlife conservation in Central China. Text is written in June 2021 by author and published in early of December at web biologyonline.com. Contact with author: echl.league.scientific at gmail.com

      refs:
      animaldiversity.org and One Earth internet site.

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