Ghameshlou National Park and Wildlife Refuge is home to three ungulates, goitered gazelle, wild sheep and wild goat. These have been subject to predation by grey wolf as well as to annual trophy hunting. Ghameshlou has been receiving significant support from the government to promote wildlife conservation, particularly for game species, yet despite four decades of official protection, little scientific research has been conducted in the area.
In a demographic study between July 2007 and April 2009, we assessed the seasonal group size variation and impact of environmental conditions on reproduction of these species. It was conducted as a joint project between Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS), Esfahan Office of Environment and Shahid Beheshti Environmental Research Canter.
Sex ratio was highly skewed toward females in wild sheep, but appears to be more balanced for the other two species. Twin lambs were encountered rarely in gazelles and wild sheep herds. Severe drought and wolf predation were considered to be the main causes of lower reproductive success in these two species compared to the wild goat. It is recommended that population parameters of the species should be monitored in order to predict potential demographic trends.
We recommend continued monitoring of population parameters in the game species in the Ghameshlou Wildlife Refuge, as these data can show population trends, which are of importance for effective conservation. Moreover, with respect to negative sex bias toward ewes in the wild sheeps, we recommend to revise hunting permits in Ghameshlou Wildlife Refuge. Meanwhile, if the population size of the gazelles is monitored at least on a yearly basis, exploitation programs can perhaps be planned.