Seasonal Dynamics in Feeding and Health Indicators for the Mountain Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus spp. isaaci) at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy

27 Jan 2023 Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, Africa Biodiversity | Mammals

Samuel Njuki Mahiga

The Mountain Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus spp. isaaci) is a critically endangered rare subspecies of antelope endemic to the Afromontane forests of Kenya. Observations indicate they are principally browsers, data on the browse selected are inconsistent and the feeding ecology of the species in the wild is poorly understood. This study aims to determine the spatial and temporal dietary composition, gut microbiota, and endoparasite of the species at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary.

The study will focus on the reintroduced wild population for a period of two years. Using random focal sampling, individual observation will be carried out in the field for 30 minutes intervals throughout the period of 6:00 Am– 11:00 Am and 16:00 Pm – 19:00 Pm when the animals are actively foraging. After each focal animal sampling, 10 minutes will be used for plant sample collection and identification. Feeding data will include time spent on each plant species, plant species, and parts. The plant species will be identified, and samples collected for laboratory nutritional content analysis.

The data collected will be analysed R software using T-test and ANOVA. Where the data will not meet parametric assumption after transformation, Mann-Whitney and Kruskal - Wallis non-parametric tests will be used for data analysis Findings from this study will provide vital information to authorities, managers, and practitioners involved with the development of action and strategy for long-term population recovery and conservation of this iconic antelope in Kenya.

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