Investigation and Monitoring of Biological Resources

Biodiversity Assessment of Mammal and Bird Species from Camera Trap Data in Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve, Gansu Province, China

  • 1. The Wildlife Institute, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China;
    2. Faculty of Science and Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5GD, UK;
    3. Snow Leopard Trust, Sunnyside Avenue, Seattle 98103, USA;
    4. Administration of Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve, Jiuquan, Gansu 736399, China;
    5. Eco-Bridge Continental, Beijing 100083, China

Received date: 2018-03-27

  Revised date: 2018-06-02

  Online published: 2018-09-30

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470567)


Camera traps serve as an important tool for monitoring species diversity. We used data from camera traps set for capturing snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in the Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve, Gansu Province, China, to assess species richness with respect to mammal and birds species. We also assessed survey efficiency for species detection, and conducted an initial analysis of species interactions. The survey effort of 10, 171 camera workdays yielded 2, 868 suitable animal image events involving 17 mammal and 20 bird species. Among these, the dhole (Cuon alpinus) is considered to be Endangered, the snow leopard and white-lipped deer (Cervus albirostris) Vulnerable, and the Pallas’s cat (Feli smanul), mountain weasel (Mustela altaica), Himalayan griffon (Gyps himalayensis) and cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) Near Threatened under the IUCN red list. Fourteen species were also listed as key protected wild animals according to China national standards. Both the rarefaction curves and richness estimators suggested our sampling for mammal and pheasant species is sufficient, while more survey efforts are still needed to detect other bird species. With a focus on the dominant species Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), occupancy models were used to estimate site use and detection probability for selected species, and to investigate predator-prey relationships between lynx on the one hand and woolly hare (Lepus oiostolus), pika (Ochotona spp.) and Tibetan partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae) on the other. We give recommendations on how to increase efficiency in camera-based species inventory and biodiversity monitoring.

Cite this article

ZHANG Chengcheng, WANG Jun, Justine Shanti ALEXANDER, DOU Zhigang, WU Liji, DONG Wantao, Dabuxilite, YANG Jucai, SHI Kun . Biodiversity Assessment of Mammal and Bird Species from Camera Trap Data in Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve, Gansu Province, China[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2018 , 9(5) : 566 -574 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.05.014


[1] Akbaba B, Ayas Z.2012. Camera trap study on inventory and daily activity patterns of large mammals in a mixed forest in north-western Turkey.Mammalia, 76(1): 43-48.
[2] Alexander J S, Gopalaswamy A M, Shi K, et al.2015a. Face Value: Towards Robust Estimates of Snow Leopard Densities.Plos One, 10(8): e0134815.
[3] Alexander J S, Shi K, Tallents L, et al.2015b. On the high trail?: examining determinants of site use by the Endangered snow leopard.Oryx, 50(2): 231-238.
[4] Alexander J S, Gopalaswamy A M, Shi K, et al.2016. Patterns of Snow Leopard Site Use in an Increasingly Human-Dominated Landscape.Plos One, 11(5): e0155309.
[5] Bohnett E, Riordan P, Shi K.2015. Initial Assessment on Large and Medium Sized Terrestrial Mammal Assemblage Using Camera Trapping in Nangunhe Nature Reserve in Yunnan, China.Journal of Resources and Ecology, 6(5): 331-344.
[6] Butchart S H M, Walpole M, Collen B, et al.2010. Global biodiversity: Indicators of recent declines.Science, 328: 1164-1168.
[7] Cardinale B J, Duffy J E, Gonzalez A, et al.2012. Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity.Nature, 486: 59-67.
[8] Chutipong W, A J Lynam, R Steinmetz, et al.2014. Sampling mammalian carnivores in western Thailand: Issues of rarity and detectability.Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 62(July): 521-535.
[9] Chen S, Yu J, Chen X, et al.2016. Camera-trapping survey on the diversity of mammal and pheasant species in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve, Zhejiang Province.Acta Theriologica Sinica, 36(3): 292-301. (in Chinese)
[10] Colwell R K.2013. Estimate: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples. Version 9. User’s Guide and application published at:
[11] He B, Sun R, Chen P, et al.2016. Baseline survey of mammal and bird diversity using camera-trapping in the Changqing National Nature Reserve of Shaanxi Province.Theriologica Sinica, 36(3): 348-356. (in Chinese)
[12] IUCN 2017. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.UCN 2017. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017. 2.
[13] Lande R.1996. Statistics and partitioning of species diversity, and similarity among multiple communities.Oikos, 76(1): 5-13.
[14] Lan H, Jin K.2016. Infrared-triggered camera technology application in the investigation of mammals in Beijing Wulingshan National Nature Reserve.Acta Theriologica Sinica, 36(3): 322-329. (in Chinese)
[15] Laze K, Gordon A.2016. Incorporating natural and human factors in habitat modelling and spatial prioritisation for the Lynx lynxmartinoi.Web Ecology, 16: 17-31.
[16] Li S, Wang D, Gu X, et al.2010. Beyond pandas, the need for a standardized monitoring protocol for large mammals in Chinese nature reserves.Biodiversity and Conservation, 19(11): 3195-3206.
[17] Liu N, Zhang H, Dou Z.2010. Synthetical Scientific Investigation on Yanchiwan National Reserve in Gansu Province. Lanzhou: Lanzhou University Press. (in Chinese)
[18] Mackenzie D I, Nichols J D, Lachman G B, et al.2002. Estimating Site Occupancy Rates When Detection Probabilities Are Less Than One.Ecology, 83(8): 2248-2255.
[19] MacKenzie D I, Bailey L L, Nichols J D.2004. Investigating species co-occurrence patterns when species are detected imperfectly.Journal of Animal Ecology, 73(3): 546-555.
[20] MacKinnon J, Phillipps K. 2000 (1st. ). A Field Guide to the Birds of China. Changsha: Hunan Education Publishing House. (in Chinese)
[21] McCarthy J L, McCarthy K P, Fuller T K, et al.2010. Assessing variation in wildlife biodiversity in the tien shan mountains of kyrgyzstan using ancillary camera-trap photos.Mountain Research and Development, 30(3): 295-301.
[22] Naing H, Fulle T K, Sievert P R, et al.2015. Assessing large mammal and bird richness from camera-trap records in the Hukaung valley of Northern Myanmar.Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 63: 376-388.
[23] O’Brien TG, Kinnaird M F, Wibison H T.2003. Crouching tigers, hidden prey: Sumatran tiger and prey populations in a tropical forest landscape.Animal Conservation, 6(2): 131-139.
[24] O’Brien TG.2008. On the use of automated cameras to estimate species richness for large- and medium-sized rainforest mammals.Animal Conservation, 11(3): 179-181.
[25] O’Brien TG, Baillie J E M, Krueger L, et al.2010. The wildlife picture index: Monitoring top trophic levels.Animal Conservation, 13(4): 335-343.
[26] Rovero F, Augugliaro C, Havmøller R W, et al.2018. Co-occurrence of snow leopard Pantherauncia, Siberian ibex Capra sibirica and livestock: potential relationships and effects.Oryx, 1-7.
[27] Scholes R J, Walters M, Turak E, et al.2012. Building a global observing system for biodiversity.Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4(1): 139-146.
[28] Si X, Kays R, Ding P.2014. How long is enough to detect terrestrial animals? Estimating the minimum trapping effort on camera traps.PeerJ, 2: e374.
[29] Smith A T, Xie Y.2008. A guide to the mammals of China. Changsha: Hunan Education Publishing House. (in Chinese)
[30] Soberón M J, Llorente B J.1993. The use of species accumulation functions for the prediction of species richness.Conservation Biology, 7: 480-488.
[31] The State Council.1988. The wildlife under special state protection.
[32] Tittensor D P, Walpole M, Hill S L, et al.2014. A mid-term analysis of progress toward international biodiversity targets.Science, 346(6206): 241-244.
[33] Tobler M W, Carrillo-Percastegui S E, Pitman R L, et al.2010. An evaluation of camera traps for inventorying large- and medium-sized terrestrial rainforest mammals. Animal Conservation, 11(3):169-178.
[34] Voss R S, Emmons L H.1996. Mammalian Diversity in Neotropical Lowland Rainforests?: a Preliminary Assessment. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 25.
[35] Xiao Z.2016. Wildlife resource inventory using camera-trapping in Natural Reserves in China.Acta Theriologica Sinica, 36(3), 270-271. (in Chinese)
[36] Xue M, Jiang B, Li W, et al.2016. Wildlife survey of Taihangshan Macaques National Nature Reserve using camera-trapping in Jiyuan City, Henan Province, China.Acta Theriologica Sinica, 36(3), 313-321. (in Chinese)
[37] Zheng G.2017. A Checklist on the Classification and Distribution of the Birds of China. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)