Feeding habits and habitat use of barking deer (Muntiacus vaginalis) in Himalayan foothills, Pakistan

Ume Habiba, Maqsood Anwar, Rukhsana Khatoon, Majid Hussain, Kamal Ahmed Khan, Sangam Khalil, Syeda Asma Bano, Ahmed Hussain, Bi-Song Yue
2021 PLoS ONE  
Northern red muntjac (Muntiacus vaginalis; "barking deer") is a shy and small-sized cervid mammal, limited to the outer Himalayan foothill forests in Pakistan. Habitat characteristics were measured by locating direct and indirect signs. To quantify habitat utilization of barking deer, 80 field surveys were conducted in the study area along transects. 1200 Quadrats at 50 m intervals were deployed along these transect lines to determine microhabitat factors associated with seasonal distribution.
more » ... he food composition of the barking deer was determined through fecal droppings analysis by micro-histological technique. Forty-five fecal samples of barking deer were collected from the study area (Murree-Kotli Sattian-Kahuta National Pak); summer (28) and winter (17). The micro-histological analysis revealed that more plant species are available in its habitat during the summer season (27) as compared to winter (19). Due to browsing nature barking deer mostly feed on trees in both seasons. While shrubs are slightly higher in winters. In summer barking deer consumed 10 Trees, 6 Shrubs, 5 Herbs, and 6 kinds of grass species. Dominant tree species were Phyllanthus emblica and Acacia modesta. Dominant shrub species were Ziziphus nummularia and Justicia adhatoda. In winter barking deer consumed 8 Trees, 7 Shrubs, 3 Herbs, and 1 Grass. Dominant tree species were Bauhinia variegata and Acacia modesta while shrubs included Ziziphus nummularia and Carissa opaca.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0245279 pmid:33450743 fatcat:lmzlviqo6rfnvlrsvyjqs6nkly