The Structure of Potential Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) Habitats and Evaluation of Its Prey in Taipingou National Reserve (China) Based on Remote Sensing Data
The population of the Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) in the Russian Far East is currently being restored; young individuals are being spread within the historical range, including territory in China. Here, the assessment of the suitability for the territories that exist in Northeastern China as the Amur tiger habitat and its food supply-prey base (three species of ungulates, namely wild boar, red deer and roe deer) are shown. A specially protected area—the Taipingou Natural Reserve, located on the border of the People’s Republic of China and Russia—was examined. The modelling of habitat suitability for ungulates was performed on the basis of Earth remote sensing data by using two different approaches: expert geo-information assessment of the territory and discriminant analysis modelling. Based on discriminant analysis, the modelling of the suitability of ungulate habitats (without the variability of plant communities) showed a small difference between the model results for wild boar and roe deer. Nevertheless, the connection with the morphometric characteristics of the relief was more important for the wild boar than the roe deer. Furthermore, the variability of vegetation types was more important for the roe deer. The analysis of the biotopes showed that wild boars prefer the central and northern parts of Taipingou National Reserve, while the main roe deer distribution is in the western part of the Reserve; red deer are more common in the southern part of the Reserve.