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Journal Article

Nutritional Estimate of Populations of Some Wild Free-Ranging African Ungulates in Grassland (Nechisar National Park, Ethiopia) in Dry Season

Boris D. Abaturov, Fekadu Kassaye, German V. Kuznetsov, Magomed-Rasul D. Magomedov and Dmitry A. Petelin
Ecography
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun., 1995), pp. 164-172
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3682765
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Nutritional Estimate of Populations of Some Wild Free-Ranging African Ungulates in Grassland (Nechisar National Park, Ethiopia) in Dry Season
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Abstract

The amount and nutritive value of forage plants, diet composition, digestibility of dry matter and nutrients were recorded for zebra, Grant's gazelle, Swayne's hartebeest and hippopotamus in November-December 1991. Besides, daily egest of feces, the level of food and nutrient consumption, energy and protein requirements were recorded for zebra and Grant's gazelle. The digestibility of pasture forage was determined as a ratio of lignin concentration in food to the concentration in feces (lignin tracer technique), a daily intake was calculated on the basis of the daily feces egest. Protein percentage in the diet of zebra and hartebeest consuming dry parts of grasses did not exceed 5%. Gazelle diet consists of green parts of plants and included 18% of protein. The digestibility of dry matter in nonruminants (zebra, hippopotamus) was 40-45%, in hartebeest - 50%, in gazelle - 60%. Due to the abundance of dry grasses ($3.7\ {\rm ton}\ {\rm ha}^{-1}$) the daily food consumption of zebra was high - $7.2\ {\rm kg}\ {\rm ind}^{-1}$ (dry weight), the metabolizable energy intake (ME) being 51 MJ. Adult gazelles consumed 1.5-$2.5\ {\rm kg}\ {\rm ind}^{-1}$ of food and 14-24 MJ of ME. The energy requirements of adult males and non-lactating females of zebras and gazelles (48 and 13 MJ respectively) were met, the energy balance being negative for lactating animals. The daily protein requirement was not met in zebra (392-$704\ {\rm g}\ {\rm ind}^{-1}$ vs $134\ {\rm g}\ {\rm ind}^{-1}$ of intake) and in lactating gazelles ($250\ {\rm g}\ {\rm ind}^{-1}$ vs $197\ {\rm g}\ {\rm ind}^{-1}$). Non-lactating gazelles consume sufficient amount of both energy and protein due to the high feeding selectivity of the species and thanks to the abundance of burnt areas with young green after-grass in the dry period.

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