Investigating abundance, density and potential threats of Sand cat in the South-Eastern parts of Iran

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Department of Environmental sciences, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Arak University, Arak, 38156-8- 8349, Iran

3 Dep. Environmental Sci. Fac. Fisheries & Environmental Sci. Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

Abstract

Sand cat is known as a rare species mainly due to the destruction of its habitat. Because of its nocturnal and secretive behavior, dense hair in the soles, and the overall characteristics of its habitat, there is little data about this species, especially in Iran. In this study, like the general method for nocturnal mammalian species, spotlight surveying was used to estimate density and abundance of this species. During the study, 660 km strip transects in Samsoor and 615 km in the habitats located in Chahe-Hashem were traversed randomly. Data analysis was performed using Distance 6.2 which resulted that the density and abundance of sand cat in Samsoor area is 0.163 and 45 (CI: 29-72) respectively. Considering the recorded number of individuals and the length of the traversed transects, it can be inferred that the encounter rate with the species is equal with 0.04 individuals per km. To investigate the effect of the moon status,  we planned study design and covered all lunar nights. The results revealed that the highest  rate of encounter rate with the species occurred  at the initial and  final phases of the lunar nights while encounter  rate with the species was at the lowest level in  two middle weeks  of  the  lunar   months  (0.052  and   0.02 individuals per km respectively). The increased agricultural activities, grazing livestock including camels and goats, and accompanying dogs are some of the main threatening factors. As a solution, we suggest establishing environmental force guard stations in the region and also employing some local peaoples as wildlife protection guards.

Keywords


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