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Low input parks strategy can work: Dynamic profile of Mishmi Takins under constrained conservation management in Mt. Gaoligong, China

Pan, Wen-Bin, Ding, Wei, He, Xiao-Dong, Zhang, Li-Xiang, Zhao, Xiao-Fei, Ma, Chi, Huang, Zhi-Pang, Ren, Guo-Peng, Xiao, Wen
Global ecology and conservation 2019 v.19 pp. e00659
Budorcas taxicolor, anthropogenic activities, conservation areas, data collection, education, endangered species, funding, issues and policy, laws and regulations, mountains, parks, politics, population size, surveys, valleys, wildlife habitats, China
Getting enough financial support for conservation in China has been a problem, to the point that about 1/3 of its nature reserves are poorly funded and lack effective management. Thus, preserving wildlife habitats under these circumstances represents a challenging mission. As a measure to promote conservation, in recent years the Chinese government issued very strict laws and regulations together with extensive public education and propaganda directives. To evaluate the effectiveness of such particular approach, an assessment of Mishmi Takin (Budorcas taxicolor) in Mt. Gaoligong National Nature Reserve was carried out. Using data collected by interviewing local residents, literature review and field survey, we analyzed the dynamic profiles of population size and distribution alteration of this endangered species in China. The temporal comparison of the profiles was organized in 3 periods: pre-1980s (before the setting up of the reserve), 1980–2000 and after the 2000s. The results indicate that, after the creation of the park, takin individuals were sighted more frequently within the reserve areas and the distribution range increased. Main anthropogenic disturbances came from hunting, which was banned in 1980, as well as from the depletion and collection of natural resources. These findings demonstrate a representative case of successful conservation policy in the particular social and political context of China, implemented with authoritative legislation coupled with education and awareness plans, under very constrained financial and manpower resources support. Moreover, this study highlights an economic and convenient, yet effective survey method ideal for research in remote regions characterized by access difficulties due to high mountains, deep valleys, and harsh environment such as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Hengduan Mountains.