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Behavioural Rhythms during the Adaptive Phase of Introduced Milu/Pere David's Deer, Elaphurus davidianus, in the Dongting Lake Wetland, China

Behavioural Rhythms during the Adaptive Phase of Introduced Milu/Pere David's Deer, Elaphurus davidianus, in the Dongting Lake Wetland, China

Shuangye Wang1, Yunlin Zhao1, Zhenggang Xu1,2,*, Li Li3, Liang Wu1, Choucang Duan1 and Jiao Peng1

 

1College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, P.R.China
2College of Chemistry and Environment Engineering, Hunan City University, Yiyang, 413000,P.R.China
3Hunan Wild Animal Rescue and Breeding Center, Changsha 410116, P.R.China

*      Corresponding author: rssq198677@163.com

ABSTRACT

To explore the adaptation of introduced Milu(Elaphurus davidianus), also known as Père David’s Deer, to their new environment, this study was designed to track and observe 16 Milu, which were released in the Dongting Lake wetland area from Jiangsu, from April 4 to May 12, 2016, using instantaneous scanning and recorded 486 observations. Nineteen types of behaviour were observed which were classified into nine categories: resting, feeding, moving, excreting, parental behaviour, embellishing, rutting, vigilance and social behaviour. This study analyzed the time-allotment and behavioural rhythms for resting, feeding, moving, and excreting categories. The result showed that before 9:00 and after 18:00 hours, the Miluwere almost always resting. Resting behaviour was exhibited and maintained at a high frequency in other periods as well. Fluctuations in feeding frequencies was consistent, peaks occurred after 14:00 hours when the frequency was the highest. Moving behaviour was split into a non-behaviour period, fluctuation period, low-ebb period, and peak period. Vigilant behaviour was influenced by external factors, and peaks appeared suddenly after the disturbance occurred. Resting behaviour occupied most of the daytime hours during the adaptive phase, and the proportion was higher than other behavioural types except two times, resting behaviour decreased after 13:00 hours when activity behaviour increased. The adaptation of Milu was documented to a certain extent, it was found that the animal’s behavioural rhythms changed during acclimation to the new habitat. It is likely that resting and feeding behaviours were influenced by temperature.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology (Associated Journals)

October

Vol. 49, Iss. 5, Pages 1547-1936

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