Himalayan ibex (Capra ibex sibirica) habitat suitability and range resource dynamics in the Central Karakorum National Park, Pakistan
The study investigates Himalayan ibex (Capra ibex sibirica) and their range resource condition within the preferred habitat in the Central Karakoram National Park, Pakistan. We apply ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA) using 110 ibex sighting data and 6 key biophysical variables describing the habitat conditions and produce habitat suitability and maps with GIS and statistical tool (BioMapper). The modeling results of specialization factor shows some limitation for ibex over the use of slope, elevation, vegetation types and ruggedness. The habitat area selection for the ibex is adjusted to the ibex friendly habitat available conditions. The model results predicted suitable habitat for ibex in certain places, where field observation was never recorded. The range resource dynamics depict a large area that comes under the alpine meadows has the highest seasonal productivity, assessed by remote sensing based fortnightly vegetation condition data of the last 11 years. These meadows are showing browning trend over the years, attributable to grazing practices or climate conditions. At lower elevation, there are limited areas with suitable dry steppes, which may cause stress on ibex, especially during winter.