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Review Article Open Access
A study on the seasonal variation in population structure and status of the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), the greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) and the common impala (Aepyceros melampus) was carried out in the Mana Pools National Park floodplain, Zimbabwe. Data was collected during the wet (February) and dry (September) seasons of 2012. The simple random sampling method was employed in transect placement. A total of 10 transects were sampled. The line transect method was used to estimate dry and wet season populations of buffalo, kudu and impala. Results from the two tailed t-test showed no significant variation for the populations of kudu (P>0.05) and buffalo (P>0.05) with season. However, impala population varied significantly with season (P<0.05). Female biased sex ratios were observed in all the species. The sex ratio of adult male to adult female for buffalo, kudu and impala was 1:1.78, 1:2.75 and 1:1.48 respectively. Age composition for buffalo comprised 53.13% (n=102) adult, 35.94% (n=69) sub adults and 10.94% (n=21) juveniles. For kudu, 47.37% (n=44) were adults 42.11% (n=38) were subadults and 10.53% (n=11) were juveniles. Impala age composition comprised of 46.27% (n=689) adults, 45.53% (n=679) sub-adults and 8.2% (n=121) juveniles. Group size for impala significantly changed with season (P<0.05) and no significant variation in group sizes for buffalo and kudu were observed (P>0.05). Dry season mean group sizes for buffalo, kudu and impala were 9.8, 3.6 and 14.1 respectively. The population of buffalo declined from 446 in 1995 to 174 in 2012. The populations of kudu and impala showed an increasing trend between 1995 and 2012. Results from this study suggest that seasonal variation in forage availability could be the primary factor influencing the status of herbivores in the MPNP floodplain. There is an urgent need for management to revise staff and ration quotas for herbivores and increase law enforcement efforts to assure the sustainable management of herbivores in MPNP.
Age composition, Line transect method, Population status, Population structure, Sex ratio, Aquaculture Production, Poultry-Farming, Hybrid poultry, Fisheries-Research, Wildlife Research, Natural Resource Management, Poultry Physiology and Diseases, Zoonotic Disease, Poultry Vaccine, Wildlife Conservation, Animal-Welfare, Poultry Management and Processing, Wildlife Ecology, Wildlife-Demography, Wildlife-Diseases, Poultry Diseases, Animal Viral diseases.