We studied the impact of proximity to human concentrations, hikers, and field vehicles on mountain gazelles (Gazella gazella gazella) space-use patterns, flight distance, and visibility in the southern coastal plain of Israel. We collected data on gazelle behavior and human disturbance from fixed observation sites, drive counts, and pellet counts. The density of pellets was positively correlated with the distance to human concentrations, and the flight distance was positively correlated with human disturbance level, suggesting mountain gazelle space use and flight distance were affected by human disturbance. Gazelles were less visible in the more disturbed areas. Our findings provide a framework for conservation measures such as determining the size of buffer zones and where and when enforcement efforts should take place to keep mountain gazelle populations viable in spite of the ecological impacts of human encroachment on mountain gazelle habitat.
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Vol. 69 • No. 4