Plateau pika ochotona curzoniae poisoning campaign reduces carnivore abundance in Southern Qinghai, China

Badingqiuying, Andrew T. Smith, Jesse Senko, Marcelino U. Siladan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae), a small burrowing lagomorph that occupies the high alpine grasslands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), has been subject to a massive eradication campaign in China since the late 1950′s under the assumption that it promotes grassland degradation. However, mounting evidence suggests that pikas are a keystone species that provide critical ecological services in the alpine meadow ecosystem. Since the implementation of pika control programs, few studies have investigated the potential impacts of pika poisoning on native carnivore species. In 2007 we investigated the impact of pika poisoning on carnivores in southern Qinghai Province, China. Our results show a decrease in the abundance of carnivores from areas where pikas had been poisoned compared with non-poisoned sites, suggesting that the eradication of pikas at regional scales may alter or disrupt ecological communities on the QTP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMammal Study
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Keywords

  • Ochotona curzoniae
  • plateau pika
  • poisoning
  • Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
  • terrestrial carnivores

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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