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Foraging Ecology and Diurnal Activity Patterns of Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) in Yetefet Woyenat Forest, East Gojjam, Ethiopia

Foraging Ecology and Diurnal Activity Patterns of Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) in Yetefet... Hindawi International Journal of Zoology Volume 2020, Article ID 4930915, 6 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4930915 Research Article Foraging Ecology and Diurnal Activity Patterns of Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) in Yetefet Woyenat Forest, East Gojjam, Ethiopia 1 2 Melaku Bireda and Mesele Yihune Department of Biology, Debre Markos University, P.O. Box 269, Debre Markos, Ethiopia Department of Zoological Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Correspondence should be addressed to Mesele Yihune; mesyih@gmail.com Received 15 May 2019; Revised 25 November 2019; Accepted 22 January 2020; Published 21 February 2020 Academic Editor: Marco Cucco Copyright © 2020 Melaku Bireda and Mesele Yihune. (is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permitsunrestricteduse, distribution, andreproduction inanymedium, providedthe originalworkis properly cited. (e foraging ecology and diurnal activity patterns of the klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) were studied in Yetefet Woyenat Forest from September 2017 to August 2018 during the dry and wet seasons. Data were collected by visual observation using focal and scan sampling methods. (e result indicated that klipspringers were observed feeding on grasses, herbs, trees, and shrubs, but were primarily browsers during both wet and dry seasons. Carissa edulis was the most consumed plant species in the study area, followed by Rosa abyssinica and Maytenus arbutifolia. Despite moderate ambient temperatures, klipspringers were mostly active during early morning and late afternoon, feeding 45.56% of the daylight hours during the dry season and 43.75% during the wet season. Klipspringers were facing threats due to human activities in the study area. (us, appropriate conservation measures should be taken to reduce disturbance of their ecology. Klipspringers are active during both the day and night 1. Introduction but are considered mostly active during early morning and (e klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) is a small, sturdy late afternoon. (roughout the remainder of the day, they antelope, exhibiting a shoulder height of43–60cm and a body tend to hide in the shade to avoid the heat. When tem- mass of ca. 10kg for adult males and 13kg for adult females peratures are cool, they remain active throughout the day [1, 2]. (e species has a wide distribution ranging from north- [7]. Male and female pair bond relationships might be an eastern Sudan, Eritrea, northern Somalia, and the Ethiopian adaptive trait allowing greater vigilance in open habitats. Highlands, southwards through East and southern Africa [3]. Although klipspringers remain in close proximity and are Klipspringers do not consume excessive amount of food aware of each other’s behaviour and location, actual contact because their stomach are small. As a consequence, they between members is quite rare [8]. selectively browse on highly nutritious plants and plant parts, Studying foraging ecology and activity patterns of including fruits and flowers [4]. (ey forage between 15% and klipspringers is crucial to develop appropriate monitoring 41% of the daytime hours [5]. When klipspringers feed, one of protocols and eventually better management strategies. (e the group members stands and remains vigilant. During activity budget reflects a combination of factors including feeding, klipspringers never stand and forage in one place but individual physical condition, social structure, and envi- rather move from plant to plant. (ey drink very little and ronmental conditions [9]. Understanding of the foraging obtain most of their water from their food. (ey occasionally behaviour of a species becomes a fundamental step in un- feed on succulents with thick fleshy leaves or stems for their derstanding the biology of the species and more precisely its water, but not for their nutrient content [6]. ecological niche [10]. (ere is very little information on the 2 International Journal of Zoology 4830000 4890000 4950000 ecology and behaviour of the klipspringer in Yetefet Woyenat Forest. Accordingly, the aim of the present study is to investigate the foraging ecology and activity patterns of the species in this area of East Gojjam, Ethiopia. (e study will enhance our knowledge of foraging ecology and activity patterns of klipspringers and also contribute to the con- servation of the species in the area. 2. Material and Methods 0 10 20 2.1. Study Area. (e present study was carried out in Yetefet ° ° Woyenat Forest, located at 10km (10 52′ N, 38 17′ E) from the town of Mertule Maryam in East Gojjam Zone, Amhara B-I Regional state, Ethiopia (Figure 1). With a surface area of B-II 102ha and an elevation of 2200m above sea level, the forest B-III is characterized by rough topography, deeply incised valleys, escarpments, and plateau [11]. Precipitations range from 941 to 1203mm per year (average: 1053mm) [12], with a single maximum in August and a minimum in January-February. (e mean monthly temperature varies between 9.5 C and 27.5 C [11] and is higher during the wet season (June to 250 0 250 500 750 1000 m September) than the dry season (October to May). 0 Vegetation cover is dense and mainly composed of medium- and short-sized woody plants. Dominant plant Road and rivers Birbira river B-I species are Carissa edulis, Rosa abyssinica, Myrsine africana, Foot path B-II Acacia sp., Dodonaea angustifolia, Albizia schimperiana, Menida river B-III Syzygium guineense, Allophyllus abyssinicus, Croton mac- Figure 1: Map of Ethiopia, Amhararegional state, Yetefet Woyenat rostachyus, Euclea racemosa, Olea europaea, and Gymno- forest, and sample areas (B-I �block I; B-II �black II, and B- sporia arbutifolia [13]. Besides, mammals such as bushbuck III �block III). (Tragelaphus scriptus), vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), aardvark (Orycteropus afer), hares (Lepus starki), and rock hyrax and chosen for observation according to their age and sex. (Procavia capensis) and birds including Hardwood’s fran- (ose selected were carefully studied and identified in the colin (Francolinus harwoodi) reside in the study area [13]. A field to avoid confusion. Observations used to estimate the total of 72 individuals of klipspringers were recorded in foraging ecology of klipspringers were homogeneously Yetefet Woyenat Forest. Of these, 32 (44.4%) were males and distributed throughout the study period. Observation was 36 (50%) were females while the remaining 4 (5.6%) indi- made for 12 days per month from 6:00 to 18:00hrs. (e viduals were unidentified sex. (e sex ratio of adult males to animal was observed from a strategic place while consuming adult females was 1.00:1.23 [14]. (ere is no natural a particular plant species, and immediately after the animal predator for klipspringers in the study area [14]. moved away from the site, freshly cut plants were carefully examined; samples were collected, pressed, and brought to the Debre Markos University for identification. 2.2. Methods 2.2.1. Foraging Ecology. (e overall data were collected from September 2017 to August 2018 during the wet and dry 2.2.2. Activity Patterns. Data on diurnal activity patterns seasons. To assess the foraging ecology of klipspringers, were recorded using the scan sampling method [18]. (e study animals were followed and data on their diurnal ac- direct observation of the study animal was carried out. Information such as types of food items, parts of plant tivities were recorded every 15 minutes from 6:00 to 18:00hr species consumed, and time spent for foraging were using fixed interval time point sampling [19] during the wet recorded during the wet and dry seasons. Part of the plant and the dry seasons. (e observations used to estimate the species consumed was classified based on the parts of the activity patterns were homogeneously distributed plant they ate, and their foraging types including browsing throughout the study period. Observation was made for 12 and grazing were also recorded [15]. An animal was followed days per month. (e study animal was followed at a distance during active feeding time to observe the plant species that between 20 and 200m and observed by the naked eye or a were consumed [16]. For this, a focal animal was chosen and binuclear depending on the distance between the observer observed for 10 minutes, with the help of binoculars when and the focal animal as well as the topography of the habitat. necessary [17]. (e focal animals were identified with the To facilitate observation, vantage points were chosen which providea broaderviewthanlowlandscape positions.Ateach help of individual markings including horn shape, pelage colour, and scar on the fur. (e focal animals were classified sampling point, the activity of the monitored animal was International Journal of Zoology 3 classified as “feeding” (defined as the animal standing or 47.3%; adults: 44.4%). Furthermore, adults fed more often advancing slowly while grazing or browsing), “moving” (if on shoots than did younger animals (Table 2). the animal was walking at a steady place), “resting,” (ere was a significant difference (χ �405.3, df �4 and “standing,” “grooming,” “vigilance,” or “other” (for activities P<0.0001) in feeding preference between male and such as courtship, defecating, sniffing of genitalia, running, female individuals in both seasons. Females primarily fed on and antagonism towards other klipspringers) [20]. young leaves, whereas males mainly fed on mature leaves (Table 3). 2.3. Data Analysis. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 20 and Microsoft Excel. (e food items consumed 3.2. Diurnal Activity Patterns. A total of 3,600hr observa- was compared by using a Chi-square test across seasons. (e tions of diurnal activities were made. (ere was no signif- activity pattern was also compared within a day and between icant difference in activity budget between the seasons seasons. Hourly time budget was calculated by using per- (χ �0.14, df �1, P>0.05). Of the total activities recorded centage utilization of each activity done by the focal indi- during the dry season, feeding was the highest (45.56%) viduals observed. recorded activity followed by resting (17.85%). (ere was a significant statistical difference in different activities carried out during the wet season (χ �745, df �6, P<0.05). On the 3. Results other hand, the klipspringer was recorded during the wet season. 43.75% represented feeding followed by moving 3.1. Foraging Ecology. A total of 2,880hr feeding observa- (14.8%). (ere was a significant statistical difference among tions were made. Klipspringers were observed feeding on 8 the various activities carried out during the dry season different plant species belonging to 7 families during the (χ �576.36, df �6, P<0.05) (Table 4). whole study period (Table 1). (e species consumed were All age-sex classes spent most of their time on feeding grasses, herbs, trees, and shrubs. (e shrub Carissa edulis and then resting, whereas least frequent activities were was the most consumed plant species which accounted for grooming, vigilance, and others (Figure 3). Nevertheless, 23.5% during the dry season followed by the shrubs Rosa young spent less time feeding and more time resting than abyssinica (20.6%)and Gymnopsoria arbutifolia(19.6%). (e elders. grasses Andropogon gayanus (1.9%) and Oplismenus com- (ere was significant difference (χ �12.3 and P<0.05) positus (2.9%) were the least consumed plant species. (ere in terms of hourly time budget for activities during both dry was a significant statistical difference in food items con- and wet seasons. Klipspringers spent more time for feeding sumed during the dry season (χ �38.55, df �7, P<0.0001). from 8:00–9:00h and 16:00–17:00h. Furthermore, they On the other hand, Carissa edulis was also the most con- rested from 12:00h to 16:00h (Figure 4). sumed plant species during the wet season which accounted for 21.3% of the overall diets, while Oplismenus compositus 4.9% and Andropogon gayanus 5.4% were the least con- 4. Discussion sumed plant species. (ere was a significant statistical dif- ference in food items consumed during the wet season For developing effective management strategy of wildlife (χ �26.33, df �7, P<0.001) (Table 1). species, information on feeding habits and activity patterns (e frequency of plant part eaten by klipspringers was are essential [21]. (e present study shows that the time significantly different between both dry and wet seasons spent for foraging was higher during the dry season. An (χ �214.7, df �5, P<0.05). Young leaves contributed increase in feeding time with decreasing food availability in 38.9% of the overall diet followed by mature leaves (35.5%) the dry season has been reported for several African ante- and shoots (18.42%). Stem, flowers, and fruits were con- lopes [22]. Klipspringers feed primarily during the early sumed rarely during both dry and wet seasons. Young morning and late afternoon and feed for brief periods leaves were highly consumed during the wet (52.53%) and throughout the day. Similarly,according to [5], klipspringers dry seasons (50.12%) out of the overall diet. On the other spend up to 41% of their day feeding. In the present study, hand, fruits were not consumed during the dry season, and female klipspringers spent more time for feeding than males. flowers were least consumed (0.23%) during the wet season As with all antelope, the female klipspringer needs extra (Figure 2). energy to develop a fetus or suckle a lamb. Studies on the Klipspringers were observed more often browsing than energy requirements of domestic and wild ruminants have grazing in both dry and wet seasons. (ey spent 66.3% of shown that gestation requires considerably more energy than the energy predicted by the total body mass and that their time browsing during the wet season and 64.4% during the dry season. However, there was no significant difference lactating females use energy up to 2–3 times the basal in the proportion of browsing and grazing during the wet metabolic rates [23]. (us, the nutritional requirements of a 2 2 season (χ �1.52, df �1, P>0.20) and dry season (χ �2.44, female klipspringer should be greater than those of the male df �1, P>0.10). for nine to ten months of the year, since they normally have (ere was a significant difference between age-sex classes one offspring a year [4], are pregnant for five and a half to six in the proportions of the different plant parts consumed. months, and then lactate for about four months. For the Juveniles primarily fed on young leaves (63.2%), whereas remaining months, they probably have to replace reserves their elders primarily fed on mature leaves (subadults: that have been utilized during this period. 4 International Journal of Zoology Table 1: Seasonal percentage contribution of plant species consumed by klipspringers during the dry and wet seasons. Relative percentage Species consumed Common name Family Wet season (%) Dry season (%) Dovyalis abyssinica Abyssinica gooseberry Flacourtiaceae 13.1 12.7 Gymnosporia arbutifolia Confettie tree Celastraceae 19.6 19.6 Carissa edulis Carandas pulm Apocynaceae 21.3 23.5 Rosa abyssinica Abyssinian rose Rosaceae 16.4 20.6 Myrsine africana African box wood Myrsinaceae 10.6 11.9 Olea europea Wild olive Oleaceae 8.4 6.9 Oplismenus compositus Running mountain grass Poaceae 4.9 2.9 Andropogon gayanus Gamba grass Poaceae 5.7 1.9 Total 100 100 Table 4: Activity budgets of the observed klipspringers during the wet and dry seasons. Season Activity Dry (%) Wet (%) Feeding 45.56 43.75 Standing 7.74 10.59 Resting 17.85 14.4 Moving 15.8 14.8 Young Mature Shoot Stem Flower Fruit Grooming 4.81 6.93 leaves leaves Vigilance 4.12 5.43 Food item Others 4.12 4.1 Total 100 100 Dry Wet Figure 2: Percentage of plant part consumption by klipspringers food items consumed. (ey are frugivores and folivores, during dry and wet seasons. feeding primarily on the fruits and flowers of plants. Klipspringers eat more leaves because nutritious plants are not abundant in winter [6]. Food availability and preference Table 2: Percentage of plant parts consumed by klipspringers. may be the major reason for the seasonal variation in food items consumed. Food varies in quality and quantity be- % part consumed tween seasons and habitats. In the present study, klip- Age Young Mature Shoot Stem Fruit Flower springers utilized some food items in a relatively lower leave leave quantity during the dry season than the amount they took Adult 30.7 44.41 17.76 5.44 2 — during the wet season and vice versa. Several authors have Subadult 31.16 47.33 15.77 4.33 1.38 — shown that it is important to assess the quantity and quality Juvenile 63.2 29.24 5.66 1.88 — — of the most and the least eaten plant species that makes the bulk of the diet of herbivores [25]. (e data available on foraging behaviour are used to specify the proportion of the Table 3: Percentage of plant parts consumed by male and female diet containing different food items. klipspringers. (e activity patterns of animals are correlated to their % of plant part consumed daily mode of life [26]. (e activity patterns of klipspringers Sex Young leave Mature leave Shoot Stem Flower Fruit change on hourly and daily bases. (is signifies that activity Female 34.9 44.2 15.3 4.4 1.2 — change varies in response to environmental factors, the most Male 31.59 44.39 16.9 5.2 2 — important of which is ambient weather conditions. Klip- springers devoted more time for foraging than any other activities during both seasons. Foraging activity reduced at Klipspringers preferred browsing than grazing during midday. (e possible reason may be the influence of tem- perature, which affects the turgidity of plants which in turn dry and wet seasons. Similarly, klipspringers are primarily browsers and they prefer young plants, fruits, and flowers affects the palatability of plants. Dankwa-Wiredu and Euler [24]. Grasses, which were mainly eaten in the wet season, [27] found that at a temperature under 30 C, foraging plants form a minor portion of the diet. (ey depend largely on of animal remained turgid. However, when the temperature succulent plants, and not on water bodies, to meet their exceeded 31 C, the plants became flaccid due to loss of water water requirement. According to the present finding, klip- and probably less palatable. Resting is high during the springers foraged on 8 different species of grasses, herbs, midday as the activities are affected by temperature. (is trees, and shrubs. However, there was seasonal difference in behaviour was significantly different between wet and dry Percentage International Journal of Zoology 5 60 activity of vigilance accounted for 5.3% of adult male ac- tivities and 5.2% of adult female activities done during the study period. Males are generally more vigilant than females. In most activities, klipspringers show some forms of vigi- lance, usually from a site that provides a clear view of the 30 surrounding terrain. Females apparently depend on male vigilance for protection, especially while foraging, and it has been shown that males are vigilant significantly more often than other group members, both in Ethiopia and in the Kuiseb river canopy. But females and occasionally subadult 0 offsprings also are vigilant. (is is an important reciprocal advantage for the male, especially during the foraging ac- tivity when klipspringers are more vulnerable [7]. Activity 5. Conclusion Adult male Subadult female Adult female Young Klipspringers spend larger portion of their time feeding and resting. (ey are restricted to cliff habitats and may not get Subadult male enough food. So as to fulfil their energy requirements, they Figure 3: Percentage of different activities conducted across dif- spent more time feeding. Adult females of klipspringer ferent age and sex groups. spend a longer time for feeding and moving than adult males. (ey feed mostly on herb leaves, but if they are not available, they feed on grass. Klipspringers move less when food availability is very high, but when food scarcity occurs 60 klipspringers explore a larger area in search of food. (e results of the present study have several conservation and management implications for the species and their habitat. Local people use the forest as a source of income. (is accelerated deforestation from time to time, led to loss of food items and then loss of habitat for klipspringers. (erefore, appropriate conservation measures should be taken into consideration in order to enhance the habitat of klipspringers and reduce their contact with the local people and livestock. Data Availability (e data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request. Time of day Conflicts of Interest Feeding Grooming Standing Vigilance (e authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest Resting Others regarding the publication of this paper. Moving Acknowledgments Figure 4: Timely activity budget of klipspringers during dry and wet seasons in the study area. (e authors would like to thank East Gojjam Zone Envi- ronmental Protection and Land Administration Bureau for permitting us to conduct the present research in the study seasons. Resting showed a similar pattern, maximum during area. (is work was supported by Debre Markos University. the dry season and minimum during the wet season, whereas moving displayed with maximum values recorded during References the dry season 15.6% and minimum values 14.8% during the wet season. (e reason is probably due to better food [1] D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder, Mammal Species of the World, availability, which requires less movement in search of Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA, 2nd suitable pastures. edition, 1993. (e characteristic behaviour of klipspringers is sur- [2] J. D. Skinner and R. H. N. Smithers, Mammals of Southern veillanceof the surroundingterrain from a prominentsite by African Subregion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South an individual while the rest of the groupfeed or rest [28]. (e Africa, 1990. Percentage Percentage 6:00–7:00 Feeding 7:00–8:00 8:00–9:00 Standing 9:00–10:00 Resting 10:00–11:00 11:00–12:00 Moving 12:00–13:00 13:00–14:00 Grooming 14:00–15:00 Vigilance 15:00–16:00 16:00–17:00 Other activity 17:00–18:00 6 International Journal of Zoology [3] S. C. Roberts, “Oreotragus oreotragus klipspringer,” in [23] A. N. Moen, Wildlife Ecology—An Analytical Approach, Mammals of Africa Volume 6: Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chev- Freeman, San Francisco, CA, USA, 1973. rotain, Giraffes, Deer and Bovids, J. S. Kingdon and [24] C. Stuart and T. Stuart, Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa, Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa, 3rd M. Hoffmann, Eds., pp. 472–476, Bloomsbury Natural His- tory, London, UK, 2013. edition, 2001. [4] P. Norton, “(e habitat and feeding ecology of the klip- [25] W. K. Ego, D. M. Mbuvi, and P. F. K. Kibet, “Dietary springer oreotragus. zoological society of Southern Africa composition of wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) kongoni occasional bulletin,” M.Sc. thesis, University of Pretoria, (Alcephalus buselaphus) and cattle (Bos indicus), grazing on a Pretoria, South Africa, 1980. common ranch in south-central Kenya,” African Journal of [5] P. Norton, “Activity patterns of klipspringer in two areas of Ecology, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 83–92, 2003. the Cape Province,” South African Journal of Wildlife Re- [26] M. J. Delany and D. C. D. Happold, Ecology of African search, vol. 4, pp. 126–134, 1981. Mammals, Longman, New York, NY, USA, 1979. [6] J. Skinner and C. Chimimba, :e Mammals of the Southern [27] B. Dankwa-Wiredu and D. L. Euler, “Bushbuck (Tragelaphus African Subregion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, scriptus) habitat in Mole National Park, Ghana,” African UK, 2005. Journal of Ecology, vol. 40, pp. 35–41, 2002. [7] R. Dunbar and E. Dunbar, “Pair bond in klipspringer,” An- [28] J. Dorst and P. A. Dandelot, Field Guide to Large Mammal of Africa, Collins, London, UK, 1974. imal Behavour, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 219–229, 1974. [8] R. Estes, “(e behavior guide to African mammals: including hoofed mammals,” in Carnivores, Primates. Berkely and Los Angeles, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, USA, [9] S. L. Paulus, “Time activity budgets of mottled ducks in Louisiana in winter,” :e Journal of Wildlife Management, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 711–718, 1988. [10] A. Galarza and J. L. Teller´ıa, “Linking processes: effects of migratory routes on the distribution of abundances of win- tering passerines,” Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, vol. 26, pp. 19–27, 2003. [11] Agriservice Ethiopia, Baseline Survey Analysis Report, Un- published Enebsie Sarmider Wored Integrated Food Security Program, 2004. [12] Woreda Finance and Economic Development Office (WFEDO), Annual Statistical Bulletin of Enebsie Sar Midr Woreda, Mertule Mariam, East Gojjam Zone, Ethiopia, 2010. [13] Woreda Agriculture Office, Livestock Censes of Enebsie Sar Midr Woreda, Mertule Mariam, East Gojam Zone, Ethiopia, [14] B. Melaku, “Population status and habitat association of klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus zimmermann, 1783) in Yetefet Woyenat Forest, East Gojjam, Ethiopia,” M.Sc. thesis, Debre Markos University, Debre Marqos, Ethiopia, 2016. [15] C. J. Martinka, “Population ecology of summer resident elk in Jackson hole, Wyoming,” :e Journal of Wildlife Manage- ment, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 465–548, 1969. [16] G. M. Norton, Counting Animals, African Wildlife Leadership Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya, 2nd edition, 1978. [17] W. J. Sutherland, I. Newton, and R. E. Green, “Bird ecology and conservation,” in A Handbook of Techniques, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2005. [18] J. Altman, “Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods,” Behavior, vol. 43, pp. 227–269, 1974. [19] P. Martin and P. Bateson, Measuring Behaviour: An Intro- ductory Guide, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2nd edition, 1985. [20] J. S. Brashares and P. Arcese, “Role of forage, habitat and predation in the behavioural plasticity of a small African antelope,” Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 71, no. 4, pp. 626–638, 2002. [21] R. J. Putman, “Facts from faeces,” Mammal Review, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 79–97, 1984. [22] N. Owen-Smith, “Factors influencing the consumption of plant products by large herbivores,” in Ecology of Tropical Savannas, B. J. Huntley and B. H. Walker, Eds., pp. 359–404, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 1982. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Zoology Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Foraging Ecology and Diurnal Activity Patterns of Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) in Yetefet Woyenat Forest, East Gojjam, Ethiopia

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Hindawi International Journal of Zoology Volume 2020, Article ID 4930915, 6 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4930915 Research Article Foraging Ecology and Diurnal Activity Patterns of Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) in Yetefet Woyenat Forest, East Gojjam, Ethiopia 1 2 Melaku Bireda and Mesele Yihune Department of Biology, Debre Markos University, P.O. Box 269, Debre Markos, Ethiopia Department of Zoological Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Correspondence should be addressed to Mesele Yihune; mesyih@gmail.com Received 15 May 2019; Revised 25 November 2019; Accepted 22 January 2020; Published 21 February 2020 Academic Editor: Marco Cucco Copyright © 2020 Melaku Bireda and Mesele Yihune. (is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permitsunrestricteduse, distribution, andreproduction inanymedium, providedthe originalworkis properly cited. (e foraging ecology and diurnal activity patterns of the klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) were studied in Yetefet Woyenat Forest from September 2017 to August 2018 during the dry and wet seasons. Data were collected by visual observation using focal and scan sampling methods. (e result indicated that klipspringers were observed feeding on grasses, herbs, trees, and shrubs, but were primarily browsers during both wet and dry seasons. Carissa edulis was the most consumed plant species in the study area, followed by Rosa abyssinica and Maytenus arbutifolia. Despite moderate ambient temperatures, klipspringers were mostly active during early morning and late afternoon, feeding 45.56% of the daylight hours during the dry season and 43.75% during the wet season. Klipspringers were facing threats due to human activities in the study area. (us, appropriate conservation measures should be taken to reduce disturbance of their ecology. Klipspringers are active during both the day and night 1. Introduction but are considered mostly active during early morning and (e klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) is a small, sturdy late afternoon. (roughout the remainder of the day, they antelope, exhibiting a shoulder height of43–60cm and a body tend to hide in the shade to avoid the heat. When tem- mass of ca. 10kg for adult males and 13kg for adult females peratures are cool, they remain active throughout the day [1, 2]. (e species has a wide distribution ranging from north- [7]. Male and female pair bond relationships might be an eastern Sudan, Eritrea, northern Somalia, and the Ethiopian adaptive trait allowing greater vigilance in open habitats. Highlands, southwards through East and southern Africa [3]. Although klipspringers remain in close proximity and are Klipspringers do not consume excessive amount of food aware of each other’s behaviour and location, actual contact because their stomach are small. As a consequence, they between members is quite rare [8]. selectively browse on highly nutritious plants and plant parts, Studying foraging ecology and activity patterns of including fruits and flowers [4]. (ey forage between 15% and klipspringers is crucial to develop appropriate monitoring 41% of the daytime hours [5]. When klipspringers feed, one of protocols and eventually better management strategies. (e the group members stands and remains vigilant. During activity budget reflects a combination of factors including feeding, klipspringers never stand and forage in one place but individual physical condition, social structure, and envi- rather move from plant to plant. (ey drink very little and ronmental conditions [9]. Understanding of the foraging obtain most of their water from their food. (ey occasionally behaviour of a species becomes a fundamental step in un- feed on succulents with thick fleshy leaves or stems for their derstanding the biology of the species and more precisely its water, but not for their nutrient content [6]. ecological niche [10]. (ere is very little information on the 2 International Journal of Zoology 4830000 4890000 4950000 ecology and behaviour of the klipspringer in Yetefet Woyenat Forest. Accordingly, the aim of the present study is to investigate the foraging ecology and activity patterns of the species in this area of East Gojjam, Ethiopia. (e study will enhance our knowledge of foraging ecology and activity patterns of klipspringers and also contribute to the con- servation of the species in the area. 2. Material and Methods 0 10 20 2.1. Study Area. (e present study was carried out in Yetefet ° ° Woyenat Forest, located at 10km (10 52′ N, 38 17′ E) from the town of Mertule Maryam in East Gojjam Zone, Amhara B-I Regional state, Ethiopia (Figure 1). With a surface area of B-II 102ha and an elevation of 2200m above sea level, the forest B-III is characterized by rough topography, deeply incised valleys, escarpments, and plateau [11]. Precipitations range from 941 to 1203mm per year (average: 1053mm) [12], with a single maximum in August and a minimum in January-February. (e mean monthly temperature varies between 9.5 C and 27.5 C [11] and is higher during the wet season (June to 250 0 250 500 750 1000 m September) than the dry season (October to May). 0 Vegetation cover is dense and mainly composed of medium- and short-sized woody plants. Dominant plant Road and rivers Birbira river B-I species are Carissa edulis, Rosa abyssinica, Myrsine africana, Foot path B-II Acacia sp., Dodonaea angustifolia, Albizia schimperiana, Menida river B-III Syzygium guineense, Allophyllus abyssinicus, Croton mac- Figure 1: Map of Ethiopia, Amhararegional state, Yetefet Woyenat rostachyus, Euclea racemosa, Olea europaea, and Gymno- forest, and sample areas (B-I �block I; B-II �black II, and B- sporia arbutifolia [13]. Besides, mammals such as bushbuck III �block III). (Tragelaphus scriptus), vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), aardvark (Orycteropus afer), hares (Lepus starki), and rock hyrax and chosen for observation according to their age and sex. (Procavia capensis) and birds including Hardwood’s fran- (ose selected were carefully studied and identified in the colin (Francolinus harwoodi) reside in the study area [13]. A field to avoid confusion. Observations used to estimate the total of 72 individuals of klipspringers were recorded in foraging ecology of klipspringers were homogeneously Yetefet Woyenat Forest. Of these, 32 (44.4%) were males and distributed throughout the study period. Observation was 36 (50%) were females while the remaining 4 (5.6%) indi- made for 12 days per month from 6:00 to 18:00hrs. (e viduals were unidentified sex. (e sex ratio of adult males to animal was observed from a strategic place while consuming adult females was 1.00:1.23 [14]. (ere is no natural a particular plant species, and immediately after the animal predator for klipspringers in the study area [14]. moved away from the site, freshly cut plants were carefully examined; samples were collected, pressed, and brought to the Debre Markos University for identification. 2.2. Methods 2.2.1. Foraging Ecology. (e overall data were collected from September 2017 to August 2018 during the wet and dry 2.2.2. Activity Patterns. Data on diurnal activity patterns seasons. To assess the foraging ecology of klipspringers, were recorded using the scan sampling method [18]. (e study animals were followed and data on their diurnal ac- direct observation of the study animal was carried out. Information such as types of food items, parts of plant tivities were recorded every 15 minutes from 6:00 to 18:00hr species consumed, and time spent for foraging were using fixed interval time point sampling [19] during the wet recorded during the wet and dry seasons. Part of the plant and the dry seasons. (e observations used to estimate the species consumed was classified based on the parts of the activity patterns were homogeneously distributed plant they ate, and their foraging types including browsing throughout the study period. Observation was made for 12 and grazing were also recorded [15]. An animal was followed days per month. (e study animal was followed at a distance during active feeding time to observe the plant species that between 20 and 200m and observed by the naked eye or a were consumed [16]. For this, a focal animal was chosen and binuclear depending on the distance between the observer observed for 10 minutes, with the help of binoculars when and the focal animal as well as the topography of the habitat. necessary [17]. (e focal animals were identified with the To facilitate observation, vantage points were chosen which providea broaderviewthanlowlandscape positions.Ateach help of individual markings including horn shape, pelage colour, and scar on the fur. (e focal animals were classified sampling point, the activity of the monitored animal was International Journal of Zoology 3 classified as “feeding” (defined as the animal standing or 47.3%; adults: 44.4%). Furthermore, adults fed more often advancing slowly while grazing or browsing), “moving” (if on shoots than did younger animals (Table 2). the animal was walking at a steady place), “resting,” (ere was a significant difference (χ �405.3, df �4 and “standing,” “grooming,” “vigilance,” or “other” (for activities P<0.0001) in feeding preference between male and such as courtship, defecating, sniffing of genitalia, running, female individuals in both seasons. Females primarily fed on and antagonism towards other klipspringers) [20]. young leaves, whereas males mainly fed on mature leaves (Table 3). 2.3. Data Analysis. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 20 and Microsoft Excel. (e food items consumed 3.2. Diurnal Activity Patterns. A total of 3,600hr observa- was compared by using a Chi-square test across seasons. (e tions of diurnal activities were made. (ere was no signif- activity pattern was also compared within a day and between icant difference in activity budget between the seasons seasons. Hourly time budget was calculated by using per- (χ �0.14, df �1, P>0.05). Of the total activities recorded centage utilization of each activity done by the focal indi- during the dry season, feeding was the highest (45.56%) viduals observed. recorded activity followed by resting (17.85%). (ere was a significant statistical difference in different activities carried out during the wet season (χ �745, df �6, P<0.05). On the 3. Results other hand, the klipspringer was recorded during the wet season. 43.75% represented feeding followed by moving 3.1. Foraging Ecology. A total of 2,880hr feeding observa- (14.8%). (ere was a significant statistical difference among tions were made. Klipspringers were observed feeding on 8 the various activities carried out during the dry season different plant species belonging to 7 families during the (χ �576.36, df �6, P<0.05) (Table 4). whole study period (Table 1). (e species consumed were All age-sex classes spent most of their time on feeding grasses, herbs, trees, and shrubs. (e shrub Carissa edulis and then resting, whereas least frequent activities were was the most consumed plant species which accounted for grooming, vigilance, and others (Figure 3). Nevertheless, 23.5% during the dry season followed by the shrubs Rosa young spent less time feeding and more time resting than abyssinica (20.6%)and Gymnopsoria arbutifolia(19.6%). (e elders. grasses Andropogon gayanus (1.9%) and Oplismenus com- (ere was significant difference (χ �12.3 and P<0.05) positus (2.9%) were the least consumed plant species. (ere in terms of hourly time budget for activities during both dry was a significant statistical difference in food items con- and wet seasons. Klipspringers spent more time for feeding sumed during the dry season (χ �38.55, df �7, P<0.0001). from 8:00–9:00h and 16:00–17:00h. Furthermore, they On the other hand, Carissa edulis was also the most con- rested from 12:00h to 16:00h (Figure 4). sumed plant species during the wet season which accounted for 21.3% of the overall diets, while Oplismenus compositus 4.9% and Andropogon gayanus 5.4% were the least con- 4. Discussion sumed plant species. (ere was a significant statistical dif- ference in food items consumed during the wet season For developing effective management strategy of wildlife (χ �26.33, df �7, P<0.001) (Table 1). species, information on feeding habits and activity patterns (e frequency of plant part eaten by klipspringers was are essential [21]. (e present study shows that the time significantly different between both dry and wet seasons spent for foraging was higher during the dry season. An (χ �214.7, df �5, P<0.05). Young leaves contributed increase in feeding time with decreasing food availability in 38.9% of the overall diet followed by mature leaves (35.5%) the dry season has been reported for several African ante- and shoots (18.42%). Stem, flowers, and fruits were con- lopes [22]. Klipspringers feed primarily during the early sumed rarely during both dry and wet seasons. Young morning and late afternoon and feed for brief periods leaves were highly consumed during the wet (52.53%) and throughout the day. Similarly,according to [5], klipspringers dry seasons (50.12%) out of the overall diet. On the other spend up to 41% of their day feeding. In the present study, hand, fruits were not consumed during the dry season, and female klipspringers spent more time for feeding than males. flowers were least consumed (0.23%) during the wet season As with all antelope, the female klipspringer needs extra (Figure 2). energy to develop a fetus or suckle a lamb. Studies on the Klipspringers were observed more often browsing than energy requirements of domestic and wild ruminants have grazing in both dry and wet seasons. (ey spent 66.3% of shown that gestation requires considerably more energy than the energy predicted by the total body mass and that their time browsing during the wet season and 64.4% during the dry season. However, there was no significant difference lactating females use energy up to 2–3 times the basal in the proportion of browsing and grazing during the wet metabolic rates [23]. (us, the nutritional requirements of a 2 2 season (χ �1.52, df �1, P>0.20) and dry season (χ �2.44, female klipspringer should be greater than those of the male df �1, P>0.10). for nine to ten months of the year, since they normally have (ere was a significant difference between age-sex classes one offspring a year [4], are pregnant for five and a half to six in the proportions of the different plant parts consumed. months, and then lactate for about four months. For the Juveniles primarily fed on young leaves (63.2%), whereas remaining months, they probably have to replace reserves their elders primarily fed on mature leaves (subadults: that have been utilized during this period. 4 International Journal of Zoology Table 1: Seasonal percentage contribution of plant species consumed by klipspringers during the dry and wet seasons. Relative percentage Species consumed Common name Family Wet season (%) Dry season (%) Dovyalis abyssinica Abyssinica gooseberry Flacourtiaceae 13.1 12.7 Gymnosporia arbutifolia Confettie tree Celastraceae 19.6 19.6 Carissa edulis Carandas pulm Apocynaceae 21.3 23.5 Rosa abyssinica Abyssinian rose Rosaceae 16.4 20.6 Myrsine africana African box wood Myrsinaceae 10.6 11.9 Olea europea Wild olive Oleaceae 8.4 6.9 Oplismenus compositus Running mountain grass Poaceae 4.9 2.9 Andropogon gayanus Gamba grass Poaceae 5.7 1.9 Total 100 100 Table 4: Activity budgets of the observed klipspringers during the wet and dry seasons. Season Activity Dry (%) Wet (%) Feeding 45.56 43.75 Standing 7.74 10.59 Resting 17.85 14.4 Moving 15.8 14.8 Young Mature Shoot Stem Flower Fruit Grooming 4.81 6.93 leaves leaves Vigilance 4.12 5.43 Food item Others 4.12 4.1 Total 100 100 Dry Wet Figure 2: Percentage of plant part consumption by klipspringers food items consumed. (ey are frugivores and folivores, during dry and wet seasons. feeding primarily on the fruits and flowers of plants. Klipspringers eat more leaves because nutritious plants are not abundant in winter [6]. Food availability and preference Table 2: Percentage of plant parts consumed by klipspringers. may be the major reason for the seasonal variation in food items consumed. Food varies in quality and quantity be- % part consumed tween seasons and habitats. In the present study, klip- Age Young Mature Shoot Stem Fruit Flower springers utilized some food items in a relatively lower leave leave quantity during the dry season than the amount they took Adult 30.7 44.41 17.76 5.44 2 — during the wet season and vice versa. Several authors have Subadult 31.16 47.33 15.77 4.33 1.38 — shown that it is important to assess the quantity and quality Juvenile 63.2 29.24 5.66 1.88 — — of the most and the least eaten plant species that makes the bulk of the diet of herbivores [25]. (e data available on foraging behaviour are used to specify the proportion of the Table 3: Percentage of plant parts consumed by male and female diet containing different food items. klipspringers. (e activity patterns of animals are correlated to their % of plant part consumed daily mode of life [26]. (e activity patterns of klipspringers Sex Young leave Mature leave Shoot Stem Flower Fruit change on hourly and daily bases. (is signifies that activity Female 34.9 44.2 15.3 4.4 1.2 — change varies in response to environmental factors, the most Male 31.59 44.39 16.9 5.2 2 — important of which is ambient weather conditions. Klip- springers devoted more time for foraging than any other activities during both seasons. Foraging activity reduced at Klipspringers preferred browsing than grazing during midday. (e possible reason may be the influence of tem- perature, which affects the turgidity of plants which in turn dry and wet seasons. Similarly, klipspringers are primarily browsers and they prefer young plants, fruits, and flowers affects the palatability of plants. Dankwa-Wiredu and Euler [24]. Grasses, which were mainly eaten in the wet season, [27] found that at a temperature under 30 C, foraging plants form a minor portion of the diet. (ey depend largely on of animal remained turgid. However, when the temperature succulent plants, and not on water bodies, to meet their exceeded 31 C, the plants became flaccid due to loss of water water requirement. According to the present finding, klip- and probably less palatable. Resting is high during the springers foraged on 8 different species of grasses, herbs, midday as the activities are affected by temperature. (is trees, and shrubs. However, there was seasonal difference in behaviour was significantly different between wet and dry Percentage International Journal of Zoology 5 60 activity of vigilance accounted for 5.3% of adult male ac- tivities and 5.2% of adult female activities done during the study period. Males are generally more vigilant than females. In most activities, klipspringers show some forms of vigi- lance, usually from a site that provides a clear view of the 30 surrounding terrain. Females apparently depend on male vigilance for protection, especially while foraging, and it has been shown that males are vigilant significantly more often than other group members, both in Ethiopia and in the Kuiseb river canopy. But females and occasionally subadult 0 offsprings also are vigilant. (is is an important reciprocal advantage for the male, especially during the foraging ac- tivity when klipspringers are more vulnerable [7]. Activity 5. Conclusion Adult male Subadult female Adult female Young Klipspringers spend larger portion of their time feeding and resting. (ey are restricted to cliff habitats and may not get Subadult male enough food. So as to fulfil their energy requirements, they Figure 3: Percentage of different activities conducted across dif- spent more time feeding. Adult females of klipspringer ferent age and sex groups. spend a longer time for feeding and moving than adult males. (ey feed mostly on herb leaves, but if they are not available, they feed on grass. Klipspringers move less when food availability is very high, but when food scarcity occurs 60 klipspringers explore a larger area in search of food. (e results of the present study have several conservation and management implications for the species and their habitat. Local people use the forest as a source of income. (is accelerated deforestation from time to time, led to loss of food items and then loss of habitat for klipspringers. (erefore, appropriate conservation measures should be taken into consideration in order to enhance the habitat of klipspringers and reduce their contact with the local people and livestock. Data Availability (e data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request. Time of day Conflicts of Interest Feeding Grooming Standing Vigilance (e authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest Resting Others regarding the publication of this paper. Moving Acknowledgments Figure 4: Timely activity budget of klipspringers during dry and wet seasons in the study area. (e authors would like to thank East Gojjam Zone Envi- ronmental Protection and Land Administration Bureau for permitting us to conduct the present research in the study seasons. Resting showed a similar pattern, maximum during area. 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Journal

International Journal of ZoologyHindawi Publishing Corporation

Published: Feb 21, 2020

References