To elucidate the relationships between the Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus) and their habitat, we conducted a survey of the population density, home range size, reproductive performance, and forage quality and availability mainly in winter. We compared these traits among three populations living in different habitats, Shimokita, Asahi and Kamikochi, based on field observation and published data. Reproductive rate, based on the number of kids that mothers reared to one year old, was highest for Shimokita (37.0%), followed in order by Asahi (29.6%) and Kamikochi (12.0%). Correlations were found among winter forage availability, home range size, reproductive rate and population density, when evergreen coniferous species were considered to have low food value for serows. We concluded that all of these factors could be useful indicators of habitat quality for the Japanese serow. The present results suggest that a small range size and high reproductive success, supported by appropriate food conditions, result in a high population density of the Japanese serow in mild habitats such as Shimokita, whereas the opposite is true in severe habitats such as Kamikochi.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4