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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 47:131-143 (2022)  -  DOI:

Space use, interaction and recursion in a solitary specialized herbivore: a red panda case study

Damber Bista1,*, Greg S. Baxter2, Nicholas J. Hudson1, Sonam Tashi Lama3, Janno Weerman4, Peter J. Murray2

1School of Agriculture and Food Sciences (Wildlife Science Unit), The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
2School of Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, West St, Darling Heights, QLD 4350, Australia
3Red Panda Network, Baluwatar, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
4Royal Rotterdam Zoological & Botanical Gardens, Postbus 532, 3000 AM Rotterdam, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Better understanding of ecology is crucial for the success of endangered species conservation programmes. Little information is available on space use, conspecific interactions and recursions by one such species, the red panda Ailurus fulgens. To address this deficiency, we used GPS telemetry to examine their home range, core area, home-range overlap, dynamic interactions and recursive movement, and investigated the effect of sex, age and body mass on these behaviours across seasons. The median annual home range size was 1.41 km2, with nearly a quarter of this range being used as the core area. Sex and reproductive status were the key determinants of space use patterns on a seasonal scale, while body mass and age remained significant correlates for the core area. The home range of males was nearly double that of females, likely because of the polygynous mating system in red pandas. Females avoided overlapping home ranges, while males overlapped home range with up to 4 females, and neighbouring males overlapped nearly half of their ranges. We found rare interactions between males and females outside the mating season. Red pandas showed site fidelity within their territory, with seasonal variation across sex classes. We also observed high individual variation in patterns of both space use and recursive movement. Taken together, these results suggest that differences in biological requirements across seasons determine red panda space use patterns, conspecific interactions and recursion. However, forage availability and quality, climatic factors, disturbances and habitat fragmentation are also likely to influence these behaviours, and these factors need to be investigated.

KEY WORDS: Ailurus fulgens · Core area · Dynamic interaction · Home range · Recursion · Site fidelity · Static interaction · Home-range overlap

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Cite this article as: Bista D, Baxter GS, Hudson NJ, Lama ST, Weerman J, Murray PJ (2022) Space use, interaction and recursion in a solitary specialized herbivore: a red panda case study. Endang Species Res 47:131-143.

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