Mineral Composition and Behaviour of Mammals at Natural Saltlicks in Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary, BhutanThinley, Jigme.; Dorji, Ugyen .; Tshering, Ugyen.; Nepal , Arjun .; Chaida, Lekey .; , Chaten.; Rai, Kiran .; Tobgay, Sonam .; Tshering, Bep .; Dorji, Tshering.; Thinley, Pema .; Rabgay, Tenzin .; Yongdrup, Pema .; Wangchuk, Yeshey .;
Natural saltlicks are used by mammal species mainly to supplement mineral deficiency playing critical role in animal ecology. There is information gap on the use of natural saltlicks by mammals in Bhutan. Nine natural saltlicks from Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary were purposively selected to fill this gap of information. The study aimed to assess mineral composition and ecological behaviour of mammals at natural saltlicks. Nine composite soil samples were randomly collected and nine camera traps were set up at nine saltlicks for a duration of 56 days from 2 January to 28 February, 2019. Data management and analysis were carried out using camerabase and R software. Potassium, phosphorus and sodium elements were found in the saltlicks. Camera traps yielded 419 independent events of 12 species under 10 families. Herbivores were most common (n = 390) and non-herbivores the least (n = 12). Wild dog was also captured licking salts (n = 1) which is least reported across the world. Mineral composition (r = 0.70, p < .05) and anthropogenic activities (r = 0.60, p < .05) were key factors affecting the visitation rate and ecological behaviour of mammal species. Disturbed saltlicks from Samdrupcholing Range revealed fewer individuals of mammals (n = 71) with disturbed ecological behaviour while undisturbed saltlicks from Jomotsangkha Range revealed higher individuals of mammals (n = 340) with undisturbed ecological behaviour. Therefore, anthropogenic activities at disturbed saltlicks call for planned monitoring.
Keywordscamera-trap, ecological behaviour, mammals, minerals, natural saltlicks
Ahmed, M.F., Lahkar, B.P. and Lahkar, D. (2019). Transboundary Tiger Conservation in Indo-Bhutan Barnadi-Jomotsangkha Forest Complex. <http://conservewildcats.org>. Accessed 13 April 2019.
Alvarez, S., Link, A., Abondano, L., Palma, A. and Di Fiore, A. (2014). Influence of Subgroup Size and Inter-Specific Associations on Successful Access to Mineral Licks by Spider Monkeys (Ateles belzebuth). Folia Primatologica, 85(1): 46-46.
Baptista, S.L., Pinto, P.V., Freitas, M.D.C., Cruz, C. and Palmeirim, J.M. (2013). Geophagy by African ungulates: the case of the critically endangered giant sable antelope of Angola (Hippotragus niger variani). African Journal of Ecology, 51(1): 139-146. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12020.
Benjamin, B.I. (2007). Preservation of Africa’s Biodiversity. <http://www.fao.org>. Accessed 12 April 2019.
Blake, J.G., Mosquera, D. and Salvador, J. (2013). Use of mineral licks by mammals and birds in hunted and non‐hunted areas of Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. Animal Conservation, 16(4): 430-437. DOI: 10.1111/acv.12012.
Bravo, A., Harms, K.E. and Emmons, L.H. (2012). Keystone resource (ficus) chemistry explains lick visitation by frugivorous bats. Journal of Mammalogy, 93(4): 1099-1109. DOI: 10.1644/11-MAMM-A-333.1.
Colla, G., Roupahel, Y., Cardarelli, M. and Rea, E. (2006). Effect of salinity on yield, fruit quality, leaf gas exchange, and mineral composition of grafted watermelon plants. Journal of HortScience, 41(3): 622-627. DOI: 10.21273/HORTSCI.41.3.622.
Datta, A., Anand, M.O. and Naniwadekar, R. (2008). Empty forests: large carnivore and prey abundance in namdapha national park, north-east India. Biological Conservation, 141(5): 1429-1435. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.02.022
Dorji, S., Rajaratnam, R. and Vernes, K. (2012). The vulnerable red panda Ailurus fulgens in Bhutan: distribution, conservation status and management recommendations. Oryx, 46(4), 536-543. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605311000780.
Gilbert, J., Gowing, D. and Wallace, H. (2009). Available soil phosphorus in semi-natural grasslands: assessment methods and community tolerances. Biological Conservation, 142(5), 1074-1083. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.01.018.
Hardin, G. (1960). The competitive exclusion principle. Science, 131(3409): 1292-1297.
Hon, J. and Shibata, S. (2013). Temporal partitioning by animals visiting saltlicks, International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, 4(1): 44. DOI: 10.7763/IJESD.2013.V4.300.
Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary. (2018). Pictorial records of mammals in Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary. Department of Forest and Park Services. Thimphu: Kuensel Corporation Limited.
Kibria, A.S.M. (2018). Potentials of forest ecosystem services for primate conservation and human wellbeing. <http://www.anu.edu.au>. Accessed 16 April 2019.
King, A., Behie, A.M., Hon, N. and Rawson, B.M. (2016). Patterns of saltlick use by mammals and birds in north-eastern Cambodia. Cambodian Journal of Natural History, 40-50.
Krishnamani, R. and Mahaney, W.C. (2000). Geophagy among primates: adaptive significance and ecological consequences. Animal Behaviour, 59(5): 899-915. DOI: 10.1006/anbe.1999.1376.
Lameed, A.G. and Adetola, J.O. (2012). Species-diversity utilization of salt lick sites at Borgu sector of Kainji Lake National Park, Nigeria. Biodiversity Enrichment in a Diverse World, 30-50. DOI: 10.5772/51089
Lham, D., Wangchuk, S., Stolton, S. and Dudley, N. (2019). Assessing the effectiveness of a protected area network: a case study of Bhutan. Oryx, 53(1): 63-70. DOI: 10.1017/S0030605317001508.
Link, A., Galvis, N., Fleming, E. and Di Fiore, A. (2011). Patterns of mineral lick visitation by spider monkeys and howler monkeys in Amazonia: are licks perceived as risky areas? American Journal of Primatology, 73(4): 386-396. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20910.
Meredith, M. and Ridout, M. (2014). Overview of the overlap package. R. Proj., 1-9. < http://cran.radicaldevelop.com>. Accessed 15 April 2019.
Molina, E., León, T.E. and Armenteras, D. (2014). Characteristics of natural saltlicks located in the Colombian Amazon foothills. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 36(1): 117-129. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-013-9523-1.
Molineux, C.J., Connop, S.P. and Gange, A.C. (2014). Manipulating soil microbial communities in extensive green roof substrates. Science of the Total Environment, 493: 632-638. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.045.
Montenegro, O.L. (2004). Natural licks as keystone resources for wildlife and people in Amazonia. Doctoral dissertation. University of Florida: USA.
Morales, M.A. (2009). The importance of natural soil licks to wildlife and humans in subtropical Paraguay, South America. PhD thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, USA.
Panichev, A.M., Golokhvast, K.S., Gulkov, A.N. and Chekryzhov, I.Y. (2013). Geophagy in animals and geology of kudurs (mineral licks): a review of Russian publications. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 35(1): 133-152. DOI: 10.1007/s10653-012-9464-0.
Rajaratnam, R., Vernes, K. and Sangay, T. (2016). A review of livestock predation by large carnivores in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Problematic Wildlife, 143-171. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-22246-2_8.
Rea, R.V., Hodder, D.P. and Child, K.N. (2013). Year-round activity patterns of moose (Alces alces) at a natural mineral lick in north central British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Wildlife Biology and Management, 2(1), 36-41.
Reimers, E. and Colman, J.E. (2009). Reindeer and caribou (Rangifer tarandus) response towards human activities. Rangifer, 26(2): 55-71. DOI: 10.7557/126.96.36.199.
Rowcliffe, J. M., Kays, R., Kranstauber, B., Carbone, C. and Jansen, P. A. (2014). Quantifying levels of animal activity using camera trap data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5(11): 1170-1179. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12278.
Team, R.C. (2013). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. <http://www.r-project.org>. Accessed 15 April 2019.
Tobler, M.W., Carrillo-Percastegui, S.E. and Powell, G. (2009). Habitat use, activity patterns and use of mineral licks by five species of ungulate in south-eastern Peru. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 25(3): 261-270. DOI: 10.1017/S0266467409005896.
Voigt, C.C., Capps, K.A., Dechmann, D.K., Michener, R.H. and Kunz, T.H. (2008). Nutrition or detoxification: why bats visit mineral licks of the Amazonian rainforest. PloS One, 3(4): 2000-2011. DOI: 0.1371/journal.pone.0002011.
Wangchuk, T., Thinley, P., Tshering, K., Tshering, C., Yenten, D. and Pema, B. (2004). A field guide to the mammals of Bhutan. Thimphu: Royal Government of Bhutan. ISBN: 99936-620-0-3
Yang, X. and Post, W.M. (2011). Phosphorus transformations as a function of pedogenesis: A synthesis of soil phosphorus data using Hedley fractionation method. Biogeosciences, 8(10): 2907-2916. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-8-2907-2011.