Characterizing Core and Corridor Use by Nubian Ibex in the Negev Desert, Israel Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • : Corridors have become a key element of conservation efforts. To identify and characterize corridors used by Nubian ibex (Capra ibex nubiana), we analyzed sighting data recorded for the past 20 years in the Israel Nature Reserves Authority data banks. We categorized each recorded sighting as belonging to a corridor or a core zone based on the total number of sightings in its vicinity. We identified three main core populations, a natural corridor connecting two of them, and a corridor that was not evident connecting the third population. Ibex inside and outside core zones were sighted on steeper terrain than expected by chance; this was more pronounced inside the core zones than outside them. We hypothesize that because ibex outside core zones must move rapidly and directionally across unfamiliar habitats, they must use more moderate terrain. Although ibex sightings in core zones were mostly in the vicinity of water, we found no relationship between the location of the sightings and proximity to water sources in the corridor. Hence, water does not appear to be an important factor in movement through corridors. It was more common to observe ibex out of the core zones during the summer. Males, which can be twice the size of females, were found traveling alone in corridors more often than in core zones. There was no difference between males and females in the steepness of terrain in which they were sighted outside core zones. Our data show that protecting ibex habitat in core zones and corridors is important to ibex conservation in Israel's arid zones. In addition, protecting this habitat may benefit other rock-dwelling species in the area. Resumen: Los corredores son un factor clave en esfuerzos de conservacion. Para identificar y caracterizar el uso de corredores por el ibice de Nubia (Capra ibex nubiana) analizamos datos de avistamiento de los ultimos 20 anos en las bases de datos de la Autoridad Israeli de Reservas Naturales. Categorizamos cada registro asignandolo a un corredor o a una zona nucleo basandonos en el total de registros cercanos. Identificamos tres poblaciones en zona nucleo, un corredor natural que conectaba a dos de ellas y un corredor, no muy evidente, conectando a la tercera poblacion. Se registraron ibices en terrenos inclinados dentro y fuera de zonas nucleo mas de lo esperado al azar; esto fue mas marcado dentro de las zonas nucleo que afuera. Hipotetizamos que deben utilizar terrenos mas moderados, debido a que los ibices fuera de las zonas nucleo deben moverse rapida y direccionalmente a traves de habitats no familiares. Aunque los registros de ibices en zonas nucleo estuvieron cercanos a agua, no encontramos relacion entre la localizacion de los registros y la cercania a fuentes de agua en el corredor. Por tanto, el agua no parece ser un factor importante en el movimiento en los corredores. Fue mas comun observar ibices afuera de las zonas nucleo en el verano. Los machos, que pueden ser dos veces mas grandes que hembras, fueron registrados desplazandose solos en los corredores mas a menudo que en las zonas nucleo. No hubo diferencia entre machos y hembras en la pendiente del terreno en que fueron registrados fuera de las zonas nucleo. Nuestros resultados indican que la proteccion del habitat de ibices en zonas nucleo y corredores es importante para la conservacion de ibices en las zonas aridas de Israel. Ademas, la proteccion de este habitat puede beneficiar a otras especies en el area.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000