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Estimating the trends in herbivore numbers in the Southern District of the Kruger National Park

Census data over several years of survey were utilized to develop a sampling strategy in which the species totals for both abundant and rare herbivore species can be estimated should aerial sample surveys be conducted. Correspondence analysis is used towards the development of this sampling strategy. The study pertains to the Southern District of the Kruger National Park. Census data from 1977 to 1989 were used. It is shown that the trends indicated by the census data, are also clearly

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Comparative phylogeography of African savannah ungulates

The savannah biome of sub-Saharan Africa harbours the highest diversity of ungulates (hoofed mammals) on Earth. In this review, we compile population genetic data from 19 codistributed ungulate taxa of the savannah biome and find striking concordance in the phylogeographic structuring of species. Data from across taxa reveal distinct regional lineages, which reflect the survival and divergence of populations in isolated savannah refugia during the climatic oscillations of the Pleistocene. Data from taxa across trophic levels suggest distinct savannah refugia

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Functional Characterization of Ungulate Molars Using the Abrasion-Attrition Wear Gradient: A New Method for Reconstructing Paleodiets

The analysis of fossil ungulate cheek teeth has long been one of the main sources of information about the terrestrial environments of the Cenozoic, but the methods used to extract this information have been either imprecise or prohibitively laborious. Here we present a method based on relative facet development that is quantitative, robust, and rapid. This method, which we term mesowear analysis, is based on the physical properties of ungulate foods as reflected in the relative amounts of attritive and

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Effects of simulated shoot and leaf herbivory on vegetative growth and plant defense in Acacia drepanolobium

Plants have considerable ability to respond to herbivory, both with (above-ground) regrowth and with increased defense. We simulated both leaf and shoot herbivory in controlled, replicated experiments on individuals of Acacia drepanolobium in Laikipia, Kenya. These experiments were carried out on individuals that had experienced different, experimentally controlled histories of large mammalian herbivory. Both forms of simulated herbivory were associated with compensatory regrowth. Branches whose shoots had been removed grew significantly more over the next year than paired control branches,

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Fire history and management as determinant of patch selection by foraging herbivores in western Serengeti, Tanzania

Although the use of fire as a management tool has increased during the past decades in East African savannas, there is insufficient knowledge about herbivores’ utilization of areas with different fire history. We therefore examined large mammal herbivores’ preference for patches that differed in fire history to test whether herbivores would non-randomly select patches according to availability. Our study area was the East African Serengeti ecosystem. Animals were recorded along transects at monthly intervals from May 2001 to April 2006,

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Patterns of Variation of Herbivore Assemblages at Nairobi National Park, Kenya, 1990-2008

Wildlife, especially mammals populations dynamics in many conservation areas are influenced by ecosystem processes and increasingly by climate change. Generally, cyclic population dynamics is relatively common among small mammals, especially in high latitudes but is not yet established among many African savanna ungulates. Habitat fragmentation and loss propagated by anthropogenic activities are responsible for the decline in populations of many wildlife species leading to the confinement many wildlife species particularly herbivores within parks and reserves as a conservation measure. We

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The use of archeological and ethnographical information to supplement the historical record of the distribution of large mammalian herbivores in South Africa

The introduction of animal taxa  to areas where they do not naturally occur has the potential to damage severely the native fauna and flora. Introductions, both accidental and intentional, to Australia, New Zealand, Marion Island and other oceanic islands provide spectacular examples of this. Non-native mammalian herbivores often become invasive in the absence of their natural predators and their impact on vegetation, which may include alterations to plant species composition, structure and diversity, is exaggerated, especially if the vegetation has

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Feed Selection and Digestibility by Captive Giraffe

A digestion trial with subsequent examination of feed selection was conducted using two captive giraffe fed four feedstuffs. Apparent digestibility coefficients were relatively high, indicating that the animals were efficiently utilizing the feedstuffs. However, values could be affected by the possible ingestion of soil containing acid‐insoluble ash. A high fiber pelleted feed was eaten in a greater quantity than a low fiber feed, even though the constituents in each feed were the same. Gross energy content of residual hay was

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Why do some African thorn trees (Acacia spp.) have a flat-top: a grazer-plant mutualism hypothesis?

The quintessential African savanna tree is the flat-topped Acacia. However, the reason for the architecture occurring in sparse-canopied small-leafed tree species from well-lit, often mesic, environments is unclear. Brown (1960) suggested that it reduced feeding by the distinctly African herbivore, the giraffe. Escaping recaptured herbivore and/or fire damage is crucial for palatable savanna trees such as acacias. The impact of fire depends on the fire intensity (mainly due to under-canopy dead grass biomass and weather conditions) and on woody plant

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Seasonal density estimates of common large herbivores in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

The monitoring of ecosystem processes and states is a critical step in the management of protected areas. It allows for the assessment of the success or failure of practices ranging from ‘laissez-faire’ to strong hands-on policies. Much effort is for instance devoted to the monitoring of wildlife abundance, particularly when associated with large ecological influence or socio-economical values. In Africa, the diversity of large herbivores represents both a major asset of protected areas and a global conservation target as a

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