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title: Diet composition and foraging ecology of Asian elephants in Shangyong, Xishuangbanna, China
author: Jin Chen;  Xiaobao Deng;  Ling Zhang;  Zhilin Bai
Issued Date: 2006
Abstract: The composition of the diet and the foraging ecology of the Asian elephant in its natural habitat were studied from 1998 to 2000 in the Shangyong National Natural Reserve located at Xishuangbanna, China, using field observation and dung analysis. A total of 106 plant species were recorded as being eaten by Asian elephants, 83 of which were identified in the elephants' dung. The plant families that contributed to a major proportion of the elephants' diet in the study area were: Gramineae (8 spp., 10.0%), Moraceae (7 spp., 9.9%), Papilionaceae (4 spp., 8.4%), Araliaceae (3 spp., 6.6%), Vitaceae (3 spp., 5.7%), Apocynaceae (3 spp., 4.6%), Musaceae (1 spp., 4.2%), Zingiberaceae (3 spp., 3.7%), Myrsinaceae (3 spp., 3.6%), Rosaceae (3 spp., 3.6%), Euphorbiaceae (5 spp., 3.3%), Ulmaceae (2 spp., 3.0%) and Mimosaceae (4 spp., 2.9%). The most important plants in the elephants' diet were Ficus spp. (Moraceae, 9.0%), Dendrocalamus spp. (Gramineae, 4.5%), Musa acuminata (Musaceae, 4.2%), Microstegium ciliatum (Gramineae, 3.5%) and Amalocalyx yunnanensis (Apocynaceae, 3.1%). Asian elephants consumed a variety of plants in terms of life forms, including trees, vines, shrubs and herbs. Early successional plant species constitute a higher proportion of the diet than late successional plants (42 spp. taking 59% vs. 32 spp. taking 37%). Browsing species accounted for a larger proportion of the diet compared to grazing species (77 spp. taking 91% vs. 6 spp. taking 9%). The number of plant taxa (species, genus, family) in elephants' diet each month negatively correlated with monthly rainfall and mean temperature. The study may help to develop proper strategies for wildlife management especially with regard to the human-elephant conflict, which is now a serious issue in the conservation of Asian elephants in this area.
Source: Acta Ecologica Sinica
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Recommended Citation:
Jin Chen,Xiaobao Deng,Ling Zhang,et al. Diet Composition And Foraging Ecology Of Asian Elephants In Shangyong, Xishuangbanna, China[J]. Acta Ecologica Sinica,2006,26(2):309-316.

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