Long-term population dynamics of African ungulates in Waterberg Plateau National Park, Namibia

The current study was undertaken to determine long-term population trends (33 years) of ungulate species in the Waterberg National Park (WNP), Namibia, using aerial and waterhole counts of ungulates during the years 1980−2013.We tried to establish how rainfall influences the multi-species population dynamics. During this period sixteen ungulates species were recorded. Among these, eight have shown an increase in numbers during the years 1984−2013, six other decreased, and populations of two other species remained stable. Roan and sable antelope, kudu and warthog were fairly common (with 5−12% of all ungulates recorded). White rhino, black rhino, giraffe, and gemsbok were classified as uncommon (together 11.9%), whilst the remaining eight species were rare (together 1.9%). The eland population showed a weak positive relationship with the annual average rainfall between the years 1981−2013, whereas population sizes of kudu, sable, gemsbok and roan showed a weak negative relationship with the amount of rain. No relationship was detected in giraffe, buffalo and hartebeest populations. We conclude that, irrespective of water supplementation, ungulate densities are to a large extent controlled by rainfall.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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