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Title: Habitat Occupancy and Forage Selection of Sable Antelope (Hippotragus Niger) at Rosslyn Safaris, Zimbabwe.
Authors: Siziba, Prosper
Keywords: Sable Antelope
niger population
Rosslyn Safaris
Issue Date: May-2018
Publisher: Lupane State University
Abstract: Habitat selection occurs across a range of different spatial scales and is influenced by a variety of factors, ultimately determining how animals distribute themselves across the landscape. Sable antelope Hippotragus niger populations have declined considerable in numbers in Rosslyn Safaris in Zimbabwe, falling from 600 individuals in 2000 to a recent estimate of slightly less than 50 animals. The decline is not limited to sable but occurred across populations of several other rare antelope species in the safari. A study was carried out at Rosslyn Safaris to identify the habitat and forage selection of sable antelope which was thought to have an influence on sable productivity at the Safaris. The objectives of the research were to characterize habitats preferred (and occupied) and not preferred by sable antelope using camera traps and to identify the grass species foraged by sable antelope at Rosslyn Safaris. Data were collected in the month of April 2017 were 20 camera locations were distributed systematically in predetermined 9 km2 grids overlaid on the study site (Rosslyn Safaris). Data on camera was analyzed using PRESENCE software (Hines, 2006). The results indicated that Aristida species, distance from water, giraffe Giraffa Camelopardalis and canopy cover had a significant influence on the habitat occupancy by the sable antelope. The results revealed that high canopy cover and abundance of Aristida ssp in a habitat will reduce the sable antelope habitat occupancy. The results indicated that the areas which are highly occupied by the giraffes also selected by the sable antelopes. Habitat management to boost numbers should counter bush encroachment as this will possible promote growth of palatable species. The researchers recommended veld rehabilitation using holistic management that is, using a large herd of livestock to restore degraded rangelands and improve soil fertility which will result in growth of palatable grasses.
Appears in Collections:Department of Animal and Rangeland Management

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