Search the Article Database:

Search our library of articles, papers and other published materials. You can use keywords or boolean-style search:

Modelling and predicting mammalian wildlife abundance and distribution in semi-arid Gonarezhou National Park, south eastern Zimbabwe

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to model and predict mammalian herbivore species abundance in Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), south eastern Zimbabwe. The study also aims to determine and evaluate the distribution-abundance patterns in GNP. Design/methodology/approach – Using aerial survey data from 1980 to 2016, the authors use the rank abundance model to determine the abundance of mammalian herbivores in GNP. Regression analysis is used to show the mammalian herbivore species distribution-abundance relationship. Findings – The findings point

View Details + Download

Factors influencing host selection by yellow-billed oxpeckers at Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe

Oxpecker host selection appears to be governed by an array of factors affecting the efficiency of foraging for ticks, with optimally foraging oxpeckers choosing those hosts that maximize tick intake and/or minimize search time. We studied yellow-billed oxpeckers Buphagus africanus (Linnaeus) at Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe, in order to examine the relationship between host selection and seasonal tick abundance, host characteristics and water availability. Preference ranks were highly correlated between the dry and wet seasons, implying that relative tick burdens of

View Details + Download

Interspecific interference competition at the resource patch scale: do large herbivores spatially avoid elephants while accessing water?

1. Animals may anticipate and try to avoid, at some costs, physical encounters with other competitors. This may ultimately impact their foraging distribution and intake rates. Such cryptic interference competition is difficult to measure in the field, and extremely little is known at the interspecific level. 2. We tested the hypothesis that smaller species avoid larger ones because of potential costs of interference competition and hence expected them to segregate from larger competitors at the scale of a resource patch.

View Details + Download

Survey of brucellosis at the wildlife–livestock interface on the Zimbabwean side of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area

A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the seroprevalence of bovine brucellosis in communal cattle and wildlife at a wildlife–livestock interface in the southeast lowveld of Zimbabwe, part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. RBT and c-Elisa were used in serial for detection of antibodies against Brucella spp. Between July 2007 and October 2009, a total of 1,158 cattle were tested and the overall seroprevalence of brucellosis was 9.9%. A total of 97 wild animals (African buffaloes (n=47), impala

View Details + Download

The role of water abundance, thermoregulation, perceived predation risk and interference competition in water access by African herbivores

In African savannas, surface water can become limiting and an understanding of how animals address the trade-offs between different constraints to access this resource is needed. Here, we describe water access by ten African herbivore species in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, and we explore four possible determinants of the observed behaviours: water abundance, thermoregulation, perceived predation risk and interference competition. On average, herbivores were observed to drink in 80% of visits to a waterhole. The probability of drinking was higher

View Details + Download

Does the risk of encountering lions influence African herbivore behaviour at waterholes?

A central question in the study of predator–prey relationships is to what extent prey behaviour is determined by avoidance of predators. Here, we test whether the long-term risk of encountering lions and the presence of lions in the vicinity influence the behaviour of large African herbivores at waterholes through avoidance of high-risk areas, increases in group size, changes in temporal niche or changes in the time spent in waterhole areas. In Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, we monitored waterholes to study

View Details + Download

Vegetation factors influencing density and distribution of wild large herbivores in a southern African savannah

Understanding factors influencing large herbivore densities and distribution in terrestrial ecosystems is a fundamental goal of ecology. This study examined environmental factors influencing the density and distribution of wild large herbivores in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. Vegetation and surface water were predicted to have a stronger influence than anthropogenic-related disturbances (livestock grazing, fires, settlements and poaching) on the density and distribution of wild large herbivores. Aerial survey data for seven common wild large herbivores conducted in 2007 and 2009 and

View Details + Download

Scaling of the Appendicular Skeleton of the Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Giraffes have remarkably long and slender limb bones, but it is unknown how they grow with regard to body mass, sex, and neck length. In this study, we measured the length, mediolateral (ML) diameter, craniocaudal (CC) diameter and circumference of the humerus, radius, metacarpus, femur, tibia, and metatarsus in 10 fetuses, 21 females, and 23 males of known body masses. Allometric exponents were determined and compared. We found the average bone length increased from 340 ± 50 mm at birth to 700 ± 120

View Details + Download

Elephant-induced structural changes in the vegetation and habitat selection by large herbivores in an African savanna

African elephants can affect the quality of the habitat of other species by breaking or uprooting trees and shrubs in savannas. Their effect on vegetation has been widely studied but less is known about the effects of such vegetation changes on other animals. We studied how changes in the vegetation caused by elephants influence the selection of microhabitats by five African herbivore species (giraffe, kudu, steenbok, impala, and zebra) in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. There was no clear significant effect

View Details + Download