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Wageningen Universiteit (1999)

Living with wildlife : coexistence of wildlife and livestock in an East African Savanna system

Voeten, M.M.

Titre : Living with wildlife : coexistence of wildlife and livestock in an East African Savanna system

Auteur : Voeten, M.M. 

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : PhD thesis 1999

This thesis has as its main theme the coexistence of wildlife and livestock in East African savannas. First however, the group size of native herbivore species was related to their body mass, feeding style, habitat choice and density. Body mass explained most variation in group size because of its relation to food requirements and how different sized animals experience the distribution of food. Differential use of (food)resources by Zebu-cattle, wildebeest and zebra was then investigated. The three species show substantial overlap in resource use by selecting similar feeding sites, foraging on the same grass species and preferring the same habitat types. More overlap was found between cattle and either wildebeest or zebra than between wildebeest and zebra. This overlap in combination with limited resources implicates a strong potential for competition between cattle and the native species. However, wildlife is able to avoid competition with livestock during the dry season by moving to areas where cattle do not have access. This seasonal movement is not because of competition, but is a result of differences in resource availability between areas.

This thesis also shows that the animals move to their wet season range because only there they can satisfy all their nutritional needs, which are high at this time of the year since the females are lactating. Their movement back to the dry season range however is related to water requirements. Furthermore, a clipping experiment was performed to investigate if the dry season range of migratory wildebeest and zebra could sustain current populations year-round when access to the wet season range would be restricted. The results indicate that clipping had a positive effect on forage quality, but that the mineral concentrations were still not sufficient to meet herbivore nutrient requirements while clipping also reduced the annual forage production to insufficient levels. The results of this study can be put to use in present land-use issues related to the integration of wildlife conservation and development of pastoral areas.

Mots clés : wild animals / ungulates / livestock / wildlife / interactions / protection / conservation / grazing / foraging / savannas / tropics / east africa


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