Spatial and Population Ecology of Yellow-Throated Marten (Martes flavigula chrysospila) in Tataka, Yushan National Park
Yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula chrysospila) is an endemic subspecies in Taiwan. In the past few years, the number of reported sighting of yellowthroated marten increased significantly in Tataka, a recreation area in the Yushan National Park. When the contact between visitors, the pets they brought and yellowthroated marten increase, conflicts and risk of disease transmission between them might also rise. As a result, it is crucial to understand the cause of higher sightings and the impact of tourism on the population and distribution of yellow-throated marten. This study, along with the survey started in 2019, focused on investigating the population, home range, activity pattern, social structure of yellow-throated marten and their interaction with visitors in the Tataka recreation area. Nineteen trail cameras and 15 traps were implemented, and 14 individuals, including nine males and five females, were captured, sampled and radio-collared in 2019 and 2020. Sightings of yellowthroated marten being reported from tourist, volunteer and the staff working in Tataka recreation area were recorded for further analysis. The average weight of female and male was 1.56 ± 0.11 kg and 2.4 ± 0.23 kg, respectively. Based on the images or video recorded by trail cameras, it was found that yellow-throated marten remained active from 6 am to 6 pm and were most active between 6 to 8 am and 4 to 6 pm. Results from the radio and GIS tracking showed that the average home range of female (n=4) and male (n=9) individuals was 6.5 ± 5.53 km2 and 33.6 ± 38.97 km2 , based on 100% of minimum convex polygon. The home range of one of the GIS-tracked males was 132.6 km2 , which was the largest record ever reported in this species. In general, males had a higher proportion of overlap of their home ranges than females, and most of the individuals that were captured or sighted in groups in this study were males, with only one group consist of female and male. The result of this study indicated that the social structure of yellow-throated marten was different from most of the species in Mustelidae where males usually dispersed and lived solitarily according to previous studies. From March 2019 to November 2020, 159 sightings were collected overall. Based on the pairs or individuals that were identified through trail cameras, tracking and sighting records, it was believed that at least 11 pairs and over 20 individuals utilized Tataka recreation area as part of their habitats. However, the cause of higher frequency of sightings remains to be investigated, and the impact of tourism and food left behind by tourists to the distribution of this species should be monitored and evaluated continuously.