The effect of human activity on the presence and habitat selection of Gazelles In Ramat HaNadiv and Alona Hills

This article examines the influence of human activity on presence and habitat selection of Gazelles (Gazella gazelle gazelle). The presence of gazelles was monitored by counting fecal pellets along animal trails. The study was conducted at the southern part of Mt. Carmel, in Ramat HaNadiv Park which is maintained as a nature reserve, and in, Alona Hills, where hunting is allowed. Movement routs and pellet locations were marked on an aerial photo of the study area. Using Geographical Information System (GIS), transect length and pellet density were measured. Pellet location was used for determining habitat preference with the aid of GIS. The influence of five parameters of human activity on Gazelles habitat preference was examined. These parameters were hunting and distance from human settlements, paved roads, dirt roads and hiking trails. Pellet density was higher in areas with o hunting, indicating the impact of hunting on gazelle populations in the study area. Of the other four parameters only distance from dirt roads and hiking trail showed significant effect on gazelle usage of area.

Arik Rosenfeld♣♠  and Shai Getraida♠

♠The Ramat HaNadiv Project, SPNI
♣Current address: POB 133 Béerotim 42850

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