Title
Global decline in aggregated migrations of large terrestrial mammals
Author(s)
Harris G., Thirgood S., Hopcraft J.G.C., Cromsigt J.P.G.M., Berger J.
Published
2009
Publisher
Endangered Species Research
Published Version DOI
https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00173
Abstract
Knowledge of mammal migrations is low, and human impacts on migrations high. This jeopardizes efforts to conserve terrestrial migrations. To aid the conservation of these migrations, we synthesized information worldwide, describing 24 large-bodied ungulates that migrate in aggregations. This synthesis includes maps of extinct and extant migrations, numbers of migrants, summaries of ecological drivers and threats migrants confront. As data are often lacking, we outlined steps for science to address and inform conservation actions. We evaluated migrants against this framework, and reported their status. Mass migrations for 6 species are extinct or unknown. Most remaining migrants (n = 9) occur from 6 locations in Africa, with Eurasia and North America containing 6 and 4 remaining mass migrants, respectively (with caribou/ reindeer Rangifer tarandus occurring in both regions). All migrants declined in abundance, except wildebeest and other migrants in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem (SME), white-eared kob and tiang in Sudan, and some caribou populations. Protected areas only contain migrations for 5 species in the SME, chiru on the Tibetan Plateau, and some caribou populations in North America. Most mass migrants track the seasonal and shifting patterns of greening vegetation over expanses of savannahs, steppes, and grasslands. Principal threats include overhunting and habitat loss from livestock, agriculture and fencing that excludes animals from forage or water. Conservation science overlooks numerous migrations, so many have already disappeared and continue to do so. Key principles for conserving migrants, exemplified by the SME and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), include securing seasonal ranges, resource protection, government support and minimizing fences. This review forms a baseline for initiating conservation action for many ungulate migrations needing attention. © Inter-Research 2009.
Keywords
aggregation behavior; conservation planning; conservation status; endangered species; extinction risk; mass extinction; population migration; species conservation; ungulate; Africa; Asia; China; East Africa; Eurasia; Far East; Mara; North America; Qinghai-Xizang Plateau; Serengeti National Park; Sub-Saharan Africa; Tanzania; United States; Yellowstone National Park; Animalia; Kobus; Mammalia; Pantholops hodgsonii; Rangifer tarandus; Ungulata
Full Citation
Harris, G., Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West, 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, United States, US Fish and Wildlife Service, PO Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103, United States; Thirgood, S., Frankfurt Zoological Society, PO Box 14935, Arusha, Tanzania, Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability, Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen AB34 5EL, United Kingdom; Hopcraft, J.G.C., Frankfurt Zoological Society, PO Box 14935, Arusha, Tanzania, Community and Conservation Ecology, University of Groningen, Postbus 72, 9700 AB Groningen, Netherlands; Cromsigt, J.P.G.M., Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, 17-230 Bialowieža, Poland; Berger, J., Northern Rockies Field Office, Wildlife Conservation Society, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, United States, Division of Biological Sciences (HS 4824), University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, United States

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