Habitat factors affecting four horned antelope site occupancy and relative abundance in India.
The four‐horned antelope is endemic to the Indian sub‐continent. It was formerly distributed widely in deciduous forests throughout its range, but the current distributional patterns of this low‐density species are largely unknown and conservation efforts are hampered by the lack of information on species–habitat relationships. We investigated the habitat factors influencing four‐horned antelope occurrence and abundance in Bandipur National Park, an important four‐horned antelope conservation site in India. Detection/non‐detection data, collected under a systematic sampling framework, were used to test a priori hypotheses incorporating covariates believed to influence occurrence and abundance. The best fitting models for four‐horned antelope occurrence and relative abundance reveal that the tree‐savanna deciduous habitat sub‐type, characterized by relatively open habitats with a lower tree density and a high degree of deciduousness, is most preferred by the species. Four‐horned antelope conservation efforts in Bandipur National Park and other reserves should be focused on areas typified by tree‐savanna habitats. Four‐horned antelope occurrence was negatively related to the alien weed Lantana camara. The prolific spread of this weed in Indian deciduous forests is a likely threat.