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Tragelaphus strepsiceros Browse During the Wet Season in the Mopani Veld of Limpopo Province, South Africa

Makhado, Rudzani A., Potgieter, Martin J., Luus-Powell, Wilmien J., Cooper, Susan M., Kopij, Grzegorz
Rangeland ecology & management 2016 v.69 no.5 pp. 408-413
Colophospermum mopane, Combretum, Sclerocarya birrea, Senegalia nigrescens, Tragelaphus strepsiceros, adults, correlation, diet, farms, females, gender differences, habitats, leaves, males, nutrition information, rumen, t-test, ungulates, wet season, woodlands, South Africa
Tragelaphus strepsiceros (greater kudu) has adapted to the harsh conditions of southern Africa’s mopani woodland. However, there is still limited information on the diet composition and selection of browse by greater kudu, particularly during the wet season. This poses a challenge to manage these ungulates effectively within their habitat. The study used rumen content to quantify the diet composition of greater kudu during the wet season. The study was conducted at the Sandown Game Farm, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Rumen samples were collected from four adult female and four adult male greater kudu culled in March 2015 and statistically analyzed using the t-test: paired two sample for means and Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis. Findings show that Combretum apiculatum contributed most (43%) to the diet of greater kudu during the wet season. Other browse plant species were Sclerocarya birrea (24%), Colophospermum mopane (12%), and Acacia nigrescens (8%), with the contribution of the remaining species to the diet being insignificant. Leaves were the plant parts browsed most often and contributed 81% to the diet during this season. The remaining 19% of the diet consisted mainly of S. birrea fruit. Gender differences in diet selection were observed. The diet of female greater kudu consisted mainly of C. apiculatum (44%) and C. mopane (20%), while the diet of male greater kudu mostly contained S. birrea (38%) and C. apiculatum (34%). Implications for the management and conservation of greater kudu in mopani veld are discussed.