Iran's Persian onager populations are critically endangered. This study of their natural history in Qatrouyeh National Park provides insights for enhancing their conservation. The population as a whole is greatly affected by weather. Wind, rain and cold drive populations from the plains to the valleys of hill-valley habitats. Vegetation features and water also influence habitat use, but differently for different sex and reproductive classes. Females with juveniles use plains with high-quality vegetation, whereas females without young and solitary territorial males choose those of intermediate quality. Females with young foals are also found closest to watering points. Future translocation of Persian onagers will only succeed if prospective habitats have sufficient hill-valley refuges and enough plains with winds to moderately hot conditions. Sufficient plains supporting high-quality vegetation near water for lactating females must co-exist with plains of moderate-quality vegetation that attract females without young, so reducing crowding and competition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
- environmental harshness
- habitat associations
- reproductive state