Dietary preference, foliage availability and occurrence for the Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffe camelopardalis rothschildii) in Soysambu Conservancy in relation to human activities

The concluded bush thinning activity, change in seasonality and habitat destruction, by both humans and the giraffes themselves, has impacted on the productivity of palatable food. However, the extent hasn’t been established. This study aimed to establish the extent to which the foliage has been affected by the bush thinning and the giraffe’s destruction of the habitat and future implications. We also hoped to assess the giraffe’s preferences in consumption and to show the movements of the giraffes within the conservancy. Five plots were selected for the study and trees that the giraffes fed on were recorded. Canopy cover of the edible and preferred tree species was used to estimate the coverage on the preferred areas. Crown spread intercept method was used. On a line transect both dead and debarked trees were recorded and their numbers expressed as a percentage.

The mode of feeding of the giraffes was observed as either browsing or de-barking and the species recorded to quantify the damage and assess the preferred plant species. Three transects were selected at the thinned areas, three transects on the debarked areas and the other four on the areas that the giraffes occurred frequently to assess food availability as well as habitat utilization. ANOVA analysis was used to determine the relationship between habitat use and vegetation relationship. Global Positioning System (GPS) was used to give geo-referenced information and to develop a map to show the locality of the palatable food as well as movement of the giraffes in the conservancy. Google Earth 2014 and Garmin Etrex 10 GPS were used in the study