Context . Understanding habitat use and selection by threatened ungulates is a crucial prerequisite to prioritise management areas and for developing effective conservation strategies.
Aims . The aim of our research was to determine the habitat use and selection of takins (Budorcas taxicolor) in the middle range of the Qinling Mountains, China.
Methods . The study was conducted from August 2013 to August 2015. Global positioning system (GPS) radio-tracking was used to monitor 10 collared takins to gain their location information. The Manly–Chesson selectivity index and Bonferroni-adjusted 95% confidence intervals were applied to determine which habitats were selected.
Key results . Habitat use and selection by takins showed obvious individual differences. At the landscape scale, all of the four most common habitat types were preferred by takins. However, all takins avoided artificially planted larch forest, and farmland and village. Available habitats within the home ranges also mostly included the four common habitat types. At the home-range scale, all individuals had significant habitat selectivity during the entire tracking period and each season. The habitat use and selection within the home range varied obviously with season and showed sexual differences to a certain extent.
Conclusions . The habitat selection by takins is scale-dependent. At the landscape scale, takins are most likely to occur at sites covered by forest. At both landscape and home-range scales, our results indicated that takins need more diverse forest habitats, but none of the four most common forest habitats is essential for survival of this species.
Implications . The present work has provided more insight into the habitat use and habitat selection of takins in mountainous forest landscapes. Many measures such as maintaining a diversity of forest habitats, avoiding habitat alteration by invasion of exotic plants, and increasing the area of available habitats by relocating the villages from within to outside of the reserve are recommended to conserve this large species.