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King Abdulaziz University (2011)

The Effect of Drought on the Biology of the Arabian Oryx At "Mahazat Al-sayd" Protected Area

Hashim, Khairi Ismail

Titre : The Effect of Drought on the Biology of the Arabian Oryx At "Mahazat Al-sayd" Protected Area.

Auteur : Hashim, Khairi Ismail

Université de soutenance : King Abdulaziz University

Grade : Master 2011

This study was conducted in a reserve called "Mahazat Al-sayd" which is one of the most important nature reserves established by the Saudi Wildlife Commission in 1988. It concerned with the reintroduction of some endangered species including the Arabian Oryx. The Arabian Oryx herds had registered a high increase in productivity during the first ten years from the beginning of the reintroduction. Mortality was in the lowest level and no epidemic diseases were registered among the herds members. Moreover, the surrounding fence around the park had prevented the grazing animals and the predators from entering the reserve. However, in recent years, a remarkable decrease has been observed in births rate and the number of deaths is highly increased. These statistics are accompanied by severe alterations in climate known as the "Global Drought " phenomenon. So the aim of this study is to reveal the effect of drought on the behavior of these animals and how it determines their survival in the reserve. The study also concerned with laying out the appropriate plans to control and manage the reserve especially during crises. Animals behaviors had been observed during the drought periods, starting from February 2008 until October 2008 and compared later with the rainfall period from November 2008 till May 2009. Certain selections of Oryx herds have been appointed to the observation during the daytime through four days each month. Activities and behaviors were recorded every 15 minutes during the daytime to see if there are any significant differences between the two periods. The most important result is that the observed Oryx herds spent different times in performing their behaviors. For example, feeding represents 33% of the general behavior, whereas it was 29% during drought and 38 % at spring time. Standing represents 3% of the general behavior, but 4 % during drought and 2 % at spring time. Resting represents 34 % of the general behavior, 41 % during drought and 29 % at spring. Movement represents 21% of the general behavior, 22% during drought and 19 % at spring. Mating represents 2% of the general behavior, 1 % during drought and 1 % at spring. The most important recommendations that came out of this experience are that in case of long drought period, and to prevent wild animals from dying, it is very helpful to provide them with food and water along the whole period. More surveys on status of Oryx to get real numbers at the reserve . More field studies are also recommended especially the physiological studies which concerned about the secretions of Endocrine gland (Hormones) and about measuring its concentrations in different periods through the year to make the comparison with corporation of scientific centers and universities at Saudi Arabia.


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