Kirilyuk V.E. 2021. Rapidly increasing migratory activity of Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) and the sightings of Goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) in Transbaikalia as an alarm // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.20. No.1. P.25–30 [in English].
Vadim E. Kirilyuk [email@example.com], A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution Russian Academy of Sciences, 33, Leninskii prospect, Moscow 119071, Russia; Daursky State Nature Biosphere Reserve, 76, Komsomolskaya, Nizhniy Tsasuchey, Zabaikalsky krai, 674480, Russia.
ABSTRACT. Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) has been recovering in the Zabaikalsky Krai of Russia since 1993–1994. The process, supported by successful conservation measures, was slow at first, but then accelerated rapidly. Establishment of sedentary groups and increase of their abundance on the Russian territory took place with a simultaneous increase of seasonal migrations of transboundary groups. They became annual since 2008. Russian part of the range expanded from 260 km2 in 1998 to 29 700 km2 in 2020. It covers about 90% of habitats suitable for gazelle in the region. In 2019–2020, both the number of antelopes entering Russia and an area they occupy increased the most: not only antelopes wintered in Russia but they also expanded their occurrence on Russian territory during summer time which was unusual previously and led to a rapid increase of resident local groups. Also, barbed wire fence along a state border near the junction of Mongolia and China contributed to increased accumulation of antelopes on the Russian territory. An unusual entry of Goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) from Mongolia to Zabaikaisky Krai was first recorded in January 2020. The adult male was photographed near Solovyevsk station more than 500 km from the nearest part of its current range. My findings show that Mongolian gazelles rapidly concentrate in a disproportionately small part (4%) of their current range i.e. the steppe part of Zabaikalsky krai of Russia. This concentration increases a probability of human-wildlife conflicts in Russia. Moreover, given the limited area of the suitable habitats and large number of natural and artificial barriers, chances of mass mortality among migrating cross-border groups increase dramatically. The observed processes evidence anthropogenic displacement of ungulates from the Mongolian territory due to a growing depletion of the forage supply and other negative drivers. In particular, climate change can increase the dangerous impact of humans. There is an urgent need to implement effective measures for conservation of Mongolian gazelle, based on regular monitoring of populations’ parameters that serve as indicators of their sustainability.
KEY WORDS: Procapra gutturosa, Gazella subgutturosa, Transbaikalia, trans-boundary migration, long-range dispersal.