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Balkan Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) Avoids Roads, Settlements, and Hunting Grounds: An Ecological Overview from Timfi Mountain, Greece

1
Department of Biological Applications & Technology, University of Ioannina, University Campus, 45500 Ioannina, Greece
2
Hellenic Republic, Decentralized Administration of Macedonia–Thrace, Forestry Service of Soufli, Ermou 6, 68400 Soufli, Greece
3
Pindos Perivallontiki Non-Profit Organization, Metsovou 12, Ioannina 45221, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040124
Received: 12 March 2020 / Revised: 23 March 2020 / Accepted: 24 March 2020 / Published: 27 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Conservation)
Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is a protected species with an Inadequate-Bad (U2) conservation status in Greece. Our study explores its seasonal range use pattern, demography and habitat selection in a site of the Natura 2000 network, Timfi Mountain. To this aim, we examined 1168 observations obtained from six seasonal surveys (2002: four seasons, 2014 and 2017: autumn) and performed an ecological-niche factor analysis (ENFA), using 16 environmental and human-disturbance variables. The species had an annual range of 6491 ha (25% of the study area), followed the typical range-use pattern, and presented the minimum core area during the rutting season (autumn). Timfi Mt hosted 469 individuals in 2017 (the largest population in Greece), increasing by 3.55 times since 2002. The species selected higher altitudes during summer and autumn, pinewoods over broad-leaved woods as winter grounds, and it avoided south-facing slopes. Our results supported the anthropogenic risk avoidance hypothesis; the species always selected remote areas away from roads, human settlements, and hunting grounds. In Greece, 40% of its distribution area falls within hunting ban areas (16.5% of the country). A national conservation policy is needed towards maintaining and increasing roadless areas and hunting-ban areas within Balkan chamois range nationwide. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; conservation; demography; disturbance; ENFA; habitat selection; hunting; poaching; seasonal range; roadless areas climate change; conservation; demography; disturbance; ENFA; habitat selection; hunting; poaching; seasonal range; roadless areas
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Kati, V.; Kassara, C.; Vassilakis, D.; Papaioannou, H. Balkan Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) Avoids Roads, Settlements, and Hunting Grounds: An Ecological Overview from Timfi Mountain, Greece. Diversity 2020, 12, 124.

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