Habitat Factors Affecting Site Occupancy and Relative Abundance of Four-horned Antelope

Y. C. Krishna, Jagdish Krishnaswamy, N. S. Kumar | 2008


The four-horned antelope is endemic to the Indian sub-continent. It was formerly distributed widely in deciduous forests throughout its range, but the current distributional patterns of this low-density species are largely unknown and conservation efforts are hampered by the lack of information on species–habitat relationships. We investigated the habitat factors influencing four-horned antelope occurrence and abundance in Bandipur National Park, an important four-horned antelope conservation site in India. Detection/non-detection data, collected under a systematic sampling framework, were used to test a priori hypotheses incorporating covariates believed to influence occurrence and abundance. The best fitting models for four-horned antelope occurrence and relative abundance reveal that the tree-savanna deciduous habitat sub-type, characterized by relatively open habitats with a lower tree density and a high degree of deciduousness, is most preferred by the species. Four-horned antelope conservation efforts in Bandipur National Park and other reserves should be focused on areas typified by tree-savanna habitats. Four-horned antelope occurrence was negatively related to the alien weed Lantana camara. The prolific spread of this weed in Indian deciduous forests is a likely threat.