The Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) is often sympatric with livestock. After the political regime changed in 1990 in Mongolia, the human population and consequent livestock populations increased, resulting in overgrazing. If food preferences overlap and food supply is limited, ungulates may compete. We analyzed summer (2004) food habits of the Mongolian gazelle and sympatric livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, and horses) in three areas (Dornod, Dorno-Gobi, and Omno-Gobi) in eastern and southern Mongolia by the fecal analysis method. The food resource composition of the ungulates largely supported the prediction of the Jarman-Bell principle: the horse, a large nonruminant, was a grazer, the Mongolian gazelle and sheep/goats, small ruminants, were browsers, and cattle, large ruminants, were intermediate. The food composition of the Mongolian gazelle was consistent among the areas, and fed on more forbs and less grasses. The foods of sheep/goats varied greatly among the areas, suggesting their foods were strongly affected by herding. Food resource used by horses and cattle showed some variations among the areas. Since heavy grazing of livestock results in reductions in plant biomass, the similarity found in food resources strongly suggests the possibility of competition between Mongolian gazelle and sheep and goats.
- Food habits
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Earth-Surface Processes