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Arizona State University (2012)

Diet, Nutrients, and Free Water Requirements of Pronghorn Antelope on Perry Mesa, Arizona

Tluczek, Melanie

Titre : Diet, Nutrients, and Free Water Requirements of Pronghorn Antelope on Perry Mesa, Arizona

Auteur : Tluczek, Melanie

Université de soutenance : Arizona State University

Grade : M.S. Applied Biological Sciences 2012

Résumé
For the past 30 years wildlife biologists have debated the need of pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) to drink freestanding water (free water). Some have suggested that pronghorn may feed at night to increase preformed water (plant moisture) intake, thus decreasing their dependence on free water. Pronghorn diet composition and nutrient intake is integral to understanding water available to pronghorn through preformed and metabolic sources. The dual purpose of this study was to determine plant composition of pronghorn diets, and to examine whether night feeding provides a water allocation advantage by testing for differences between day and night and modeling free water requirements during biologically critical seasons and years of different precipitation. I determined species composition, selected nutrients, and moisture content of American pronghorn diets on Perry Mesa, Arizona in March, May, June and August of 2008 and 2009. I used microhistological analysis of fecal samples to determine percent plant composition of pronghorn diets. I used forage samples to evaluate the nutrient composition of those diets for moisture, crude protein and structural carbohydrates, and to calculate metabolic water. I used calculations proposed by Fox et al. (2000) to model free water requirements and modified the equations to reflect increased requirements for lactation. Diet analysis revealed that pronghorn used between 67% and 99% forbs and suggested fair range conditions. Preformed water was not significantly different between night and day. Night feeding appeared to be of marginal advantage, providing an average potential 9% preformed water increase in 2008, and 3% in 2009. The model indicated that neither male nor female pronghorn could meet their water requirements from preformed and metabolic water during any time period, season or year. The average free water requirements for females ranged from 0.67 L/animal/day (SE 0.06) in March, 2008 to 3.12 L/animal/day (SE 0.02) in June, 2009. The model showed that American pronghorn on Perry Mesa require access to free water during biological stress periods

Mots Clés : Wildlife management / Ecology / Wildlife conservation / Diet / grassland / Nutrients / preformed / Pronghorn / Water

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Page publiée le 8 novembre 2012, mise à jour le 8 avril 2019