Analysis of Physical and Chemical Properties of Natural Salt Licks and Determination of Animal Presence
Keywords:Abundance, frequency, geophagy, keystone, nutrients
Natural salt licks are deposits of salt that are found in the wild. They can have a variety of physical and chemical properties depending on their location and minerals that they contain. Some common physical properties of natural salt licks include their size, shape, color, and texture. This study was conducted to analyze physical and chemical properties of natural salt licks and determine presence of animals on and around the natural salt lick sites. Soil samples from 10 lick sites were collected and analyzed. A total of 10 Reconyx cameras were deployed across 10 lick sites for documentation of wild animals. Most lick areas were found to be sandy, clayey, and silty in texture with high pH (mean = 7.94, SD = 1.05) and electrical conductivity (mean = 7.24, SD = 0.98). Chemical analysis indicated that the natural salt licks had higher concentrations (mg/100g) of sodium, potassium, magnesium and
calcium. The total sampling effort of 300 camera trap days yielded 289 independent events in 30 days covering elevation ranging from 1000 to 3000 metre above sea level. The most commonly photographed species were barking deer, Assamese macaque and Himalayan serow.