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Species Composition, Diversity, and Habitat Association of Medium- and Large-Sized Mammals in Chimit-Kolla, Abay Gorge, Ethiopia

Species Composition, Diversity, and Habitat Association of Medium- and Large-Sized Mammals in... Hindawi International Journal of Zoology Volume 2021, Article ID 9960764, 9 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9960764 Research Article Species Composition, Diversity, and Habitat Association of Medium- and Large-Sized Mammals in Chimit-Kolla, Abay Gorge, Ethiopia 1 2 Mengistu Wale and Mesele Yihune Animal Biodiversity Directorate, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, P.O. Box 30726, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Department of Zoological Science, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Correspondence should be addressed to Mengistu Wale; mengw2004@yahoo.com Received 8 March 2021; Revised 18 August 2021; Accepted 7 September 2021; Published 21 September 2021 Academic Editor: Marco Cucco Copyright © 2021 Mengistu Wale and Mesele Yihune. (is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Identifying the species distribution, diversity, and habitat association provides input to launch proper conservation interventions. A survey of medium- and large-sized mammal species was conducted in Chimit-Kolla area to assess their distribution, diversity, and relative abundance in November 2019 to September 2020. Line transect sampling and focus group discussions were used for data collection. Shannon diversity index and Sorenson’s coefficient were used to compute the diversity and habitat utilization of species. (e association of species among habitats was tested using the chi-squared test. In the survey, 18 species of medium- and large-sized mammals belonging to the order Artiodactyla (7 species), Carnivora (6 species), Rodentia (1 species), Primates (3 species) and Tubulidentata (1 species) were recorded. (e association of mammalian species among the three habitats was not significant (p> 0.05). However, the abundance of mammal species was significantly associated with forest habitats (p< 0.05). (ere was a significant variation in abundance of medium- and large-sized mammal species observed in the dry season (157, 57.5%) as compared to the wet season (116, 42.5%) (χ � 6.17, df � 1, and p � 0.013). (e most abundant species was olive baboon (Papio anubis), followed by grivet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops) and crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata). While leopard (Panthera pardus), white-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda), and aardvark (Orycteropus afer) were the rarest mammalian species recorded. Forest habitat has the highest species diversity (H’ � 2.276) than riverine vegetation and wooded grassland. Mammal species showed a considerable similarity among habitats, and the highest similarity was recorded between forest and wooded grassland (S � 0.8). (e study area relatively has considerable numbers of medium- and large-sized mammal species, and urgent conservation action is required to reduce the emerging threats (hunting, charcoal production, agriculture, and investment expansion) and ensure survival of mammal species. ° ° to 280 mm and from 10 C to 30 C, respectively [1]. In ad- 1. Introduction dition, the Rift Valley bisects the western and eastern pla- Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the horn of teaus centrally, which acts as a major zoogeographical Africa. It is known for having diverse ecosystems and al- barrier within the country [2]. (e presence of these alti- titudinal variation which ranges from Ras Dashen (4600 m tudinal and climatic zonal variabilities in the country greatly a.s.l.) to Danakil Depression (126 m b.s.l.) [1, 2]. Surpris- contributed to immense diversity of plant and animal species ingly, 50% the Afrotropical region’s land above 2000 m a.s.l. in Ethiopia [3, 4]. is found in Ethiopia [3]. (ese altitudinal variations enable (e combinations of the abovementioned contributing the country to have a range of climate zones, locally called factors make Ethiopia as one of the potential biodiverse Dega, Woina Dega, Kolla, and Bereha. (e mean annual countries in Africa. (e exact number of recognized rainfall and temperature of the country range from 500 mm mammalian families, genera, and species fluctuates as new 2 International Journal of Zoology known [21, 22]. However, assessing the status of mammal species are described and scientists make other taxonomic revisions [5]. According to reference [6], there are 311 species outside protected areas is equally important even more because of the huge anthropogenic pressures they mammal species in Ethiopia, which belong to 144 genera, 43 families, and 13 orders [5]. absorb from their surrounding environments [22, 23]. Mammals are distributed in almost all habitats and (erefore, studying the status of wildlife outside protected regions of the earth except ice of Antarctica from an ele- areas is a precondition to conserve by establishing pro- vation below sea level up to 6500 m above sea level [7]. (e tected areas based on their potentiality and threat severity majority (98%) of mammalian species occupy terrestrial of the areas. habitats [8]. In Ethiopia, medium- and large-sized mammals Chimit-Kolla is located in Abay Gorge and used as a refugium for wildlife species where their previous adjacent are widely distributed in a wide range of ecosystem from desert to afro-alpine ecosystem [9]. habitats have been destroyed by dense human settlement and agricultural expansion [24]. It is clear that as habitats of Mammals play a great role in proper ecosystem structure and functioning [10, 11]. (ey can modify vegetation wild animals alter, untold numbers of species are dis- appearing before they have been recognized or studied [25]. structure, alter pathways of nutrients, and thereby change species composition in the ecosystem [11]. (ey are par- In addition, mammals particularly antelopes are hunted ticipating in different trophic levels in food webs, contrib- illegally without any protection for meat by the local uting to herbivore regulation, and acting as important seed communities which worth the situation in the area. dispersers for many tree species [10, 11]. (ey are also a vital Chimit-Kolla is not under legal protection yet. Fur- economic resource for local human populations through thermore, there are no well-organized data available about their use as food, pets, artifacts, and tourism [12, 13]. the mammal species diversity and abundance of this area. It is also clear that anthropogenic threats are escalating However, recently escalating natural and anthropogenic factors greatly threatened survival of mammals. (e main through time negatively affecting the survival of wildlife as observed in many of our national parks today [14, 26]. (e natural and human-induced activities that caused the de- pletion of mammal species include habitat loss and frag- situation is expected to be more in unprotected areas such as Chimit-Kolla in Abay Gorge. Conducting surveys enables mentation [8, 14]. A recent assessment of the conservation status of mammal species indicated that at least one-fifth of conservationists to act against factors that caused population mammal species are at risk of extinction in the wild decline [13]. worldwide [8, 15]. A study on 173 mammals’ prehistoric (erefore, the study aims to survey and document the distribution in six continents showed that 50% of their range species composition and habitat association of medium- and area has been lost [15]. Similarly, mammals have been large-sized mammals in Chimit-Kolla and provide baseline hunted illegally for a century for meat and other purpose data for effective conservation of wild animals. even within the national parks in developing countries. As a result, 40% of currently Critically Endangered mammal 2. Materials and Methods species are impacted by hunting [8]. Rapid population growth in developing countries such as Ethiopia and 2.1. Description of the Study Area. (e study was conducted associated increasing demand of agricultural land to in Chimit-Kolla located in Chimet kebele in Gozamin increase productivity are predicted to be a main threat of district (Figure 1). It is located at the southern end of Chimet biodiversity [14]. kebele in Abay Gorge about 30 km and 330 km away from In Ethiopia, mammals in particular and wildlife in Debre Markos town and Addis Ababa city, respectively. general are somewhat conserved in protected areas including Chimit-Kolla consists of an elongated mountain chain forest national parks, sanctuaries, controlled hunting areas, called Jibilat-Mutera forest. Chimit-Kolla is boarded by community conservation areas, and others [16]. However, Chemoga River in the east and Wutrin and Tidima stream in the rapidly increased anthropogenic and natural factors the west and north, respectively. (e area of Chimit-Kolla is seriously threatened the wild mammals of Ethiopia in- 4200 hectares (unpublished data, Gozamin district office). cluding those found in national parks [17, 18]. As a result, at (e agroclimatic zone of Chimit-Kolla is mainly tropical least 36 mammalian species are threatened in the country hot, locally called Kolla [27], with an altitudinal range of [19]. (e impact is highly pronounced in large mammals 900 m a.s.l. near Abay River at southern edges and 2080 m that required large home ranges [20]. (e population of a.s.l at the northern edges. (e area received unimodal African elephant has been declining in Omo National Park rainfall pattern, with May to September being the main rainy and Babille Elephant Sanctuary, mainly due to poaching, season, and the mean annual rainfall distribution ranges habitat loss, and human-elephant conflict that question its from 500 to 1500 mm. (e mean annual temperature record ° ° survival. (is situation is more painful to the world if it of the study area is between 20 C and 35 C (unpublished happens on endemic mammals. data, Gozamin district office). (e study area is located 0 0 Impressive progressive studies have been made in between coordinates of 10 01’10.82”–10 10’37.47” N and 0 0 mammals of Ethiopia particularly in protected areas re- 37 28’44.13”–37 34’28.3” E. cently. However, the fauna of Ethiopia is not well studied (e habitat of the study area was categorized into three and documented as compared to the flora of the country vegetation zones: forest, riverine, and wooded grassland. [14], even the diversity and conservation status of (ere is no organized study on the natural vegetation of the mammalian species outside protected areas are poorly study area. However, the natural vegetation of the study area International Journal of Zoology 3 37°30’0’’E 37°35’0’’E Ethiopia Transect base lines Rivers Forest Riverence vegetation Wooded grass land Chimit boundary 37°30’0’’E 37°35’0’’E N Coordinate System: Adindan UTM Zone 37N Km Projection: Transverse Mercator W E 0 2.5 5 10 Datum: Adindan Scale Factor: 0.9996 Units: Meter Figure 1: Map of Chimit-Kolla. is dominated by trees and grasses including family Faba- 3.2. Data Collection. Data collection was carried out in ceae (Acacia bussei, Acacia albida, Acacia abyssinica, and December 2019 and September 2020 to account both the dry others species), family Moraceae (Ficus sycomorus and and the wet season, respectively. (e survey of medium- and Ficus sur), Boswellia species, and Hyparrhenia species large-sized mammalian species was conducted by walking on foot along the line transect [29, 30]. Observation of (thatching grass). mammals in the field was carried out twice a day, early in the morning (06 : 30–10 : 30 h) and late in the afternoon (16 : 3. Methods 00–18 : 30 h) [30]. Silent detection of mammals using a binocular or naked eye was carried out by walking along 3.1. Sampling Design. A pilot survey was carried out during transect with an average speed of 1.5 km/h or less depending November 2019 to gather information on accessibility, on habitat suitability [31, 32]. Kingdon [33] field guides were vegetation structure, and other factors in the study area. used for further mammal species identification. Some (e study area was stratified into three vegetation zones: mammal species were identified using indirect methods such forest, riverine vegetation, and wooded grassland. A line as footprints, fecal droppings, scents marks, digging marks, transect sampling method was used to assess diversity and sound, and spines [28, 34]. Indirect method is an option abundance of medium- and large-sized mammals [28]. A available to study the distribution and abundance of inac- total of 10 transects were systematically established con- cessible vertebrates such as nocturnal mammals [35]. Ad- sidering habitat potentiality and accessibility: five for forest, ditional information for the presence of mammal species was three for wooded grassland, and two for riverine vegetation. supported by focus group discussion with selected local (e study was limited in some parts of the study area due to community using field guides. (e presence of potential harsh environment, inaccessibility, disturbance, and other anthropogenic wildlife threats was also recorded during field factors. (e length of transects varied from 1.5 km for observation. forest, 2.5 km for wooded grassland to 3 km for riverine vegetation depending on the topography of the area. Each transect was spaced with 0.5 km for forest and 1 km for 3.3. Data Analysis. Data were analyzed using descriptive wooded grassland and riverine vegetation to avoid double statistics. Shannon–Wiener diversity index (H’) was used to counting. (e width of each transect also varies depending calculate the diversity of species using the following formula on the openness or thickness of habitat: 100 m for forest, [36]: H’ � −􏽐 (Pi) (lnPi), where H’ � diversity index, 200 m for wooded grassland, and 50 m for riverine ln � natural logarithm, and Pi � proportion of total sample th vegetation. belonging to the i species (pi � ni/N, where ni is the 10°0’0’’N 10°5’0’’N 10°10’0’’N 10°0’0’’N 10°5’0’’N 10°10’0’’N 4 International Journal of Zoology number of individuals in species i and N is the total number (Tragelaphus scriptus), and common duiker (Sylvicapra of individuals in the community). grimmia) were considered as habitat generalist in this survey Shannon–Wiener evenness index (E) was used to de- being recorded in all three habitats (Table 3). termine pattern of mammalian species distribution in the habitats and computed using the following formula: E � H’/ 4.2. Relative Abundance and Distribution of Mammal Species. H , where H’ � Shannon–Wiener diversity index and max From a total of 273 recorded individuals, the highest number H � lnS, in which ln � natural logarithm and S � the total max (N � 127) was recorded in the forest habitat followed by the number of species in each habitat. Sorenson’s coefficient (S) wooded grassland (N � 84) and the least being riverine was used to compare the similarity between two habitats vegetation (N � 62) (Table 2). (e variation in the abundance with reference to mammalian species composition and of mammal species among the three habitats was significant computed with the following formula: S � 2C/S + S [37], 1 2 2 (χ � 24.02, df � 2, and p � 0.0001). In terms of individual where C � the number of common species in both habitats, species, the most abundant species recorded in the study S � the number of species in habitat one, and S � the 1 2 area was olive baboon followed by grivet monkey and crested number of species in habitat two. (e relative abundance porcupine, which account 26.7%, 10.6%, and 10% of the total index of species (RAI) was calculated by dividing the record, respectively. (e rarest mammal species in this study number of records of each species by the total number of was leopard (0.3%) followed by aardvark 1.1% and white- records of all species. (e chi-squared test was used to test tailed mongoose accounting 1.5% of the total record each significant association of mammal species composition and (Table 3). abundance between different habitats and seasons. (e distributional pattern of medium- and large-sized mammal species within their habitats was somewhat evenly 4. Results distributed across each habitat, but they were more evenly distributed in wooded grassland (E � 0.89) than the forest 4.1. Species Composition and Habitat Association. In this (E � 0.84) and riverine vegetation (E � 0.83) (Table 2). survey, a total of 18 species of medium- and large-sized (ere were a greater number of medium- and large-sized mammals belonging to five orders and nine families were mammals observed in the dry season (157, 57.5%) as identified from 273 records (Table 1). (e order Artiodactyla compared to the wet season (116, 42.5%) (Figure 3). (e has the highest number of species (seven species) which variation was significant (χ � 6.17, df � 1, and p � 0.013) at belong to the family Bovidae with five species and Suidae 95% confidence interval. Olive baboon is the most abundant with two species. (e order Carnivora is represented by six species in both seasons but leopard was recorded only in the species that belong to four families: Felidae (three species), dry season. Hyaenidae, Herpestidae, and Viverridae represented by one species each. While the order Primates is represented by three species in single family, Cercopithecidae. (e other 4.3. Species Diversity. Chimit-Kolla had moderate diversity two orders Tubulidentata and Rodentia are represented by of medium- and large-sized mammal species (H’ � 2.843). one family and species each. More than three-quarter of the Forest habitat has the highest species diversity (H’ � 2.276) species were identified by visual encounter, while the followed by wooded grassland (H’ � 2.216), and the least was remaining species were identified using indirect methods riverine vegetation (H’ � 1.94). Mammal species were rela- (Figure 2). Crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata), spotted tively uniformly distributed in wooded grassland (E � 0.71) hyena (Crocuta crocuta), leopard (Panthera pardus), African followed by riverine habitat. However, Simpson dominance civet (Civettictis civetta), and aardvark (Orycteropus afer) index indicated that the riverine vegetation was dominated were identified using feces/spine, vocal, scent, holes, and by few species (D � 0.18) followed by forest habitat (D � 0.16) scratches. Leopard was identified by vocal sound at night (Table 2). during the dry season and further confirmed from com- Sorenson’s similarity index of medium- and large-sized munity discussion and skin collected in farmer house. mammal species among the three habitats prevailed that (e association of medium- and large-sized mammal more than 50% of species were common among the three species composition showed slight variation among habitats. habitats. However, the highest similarity of mammal species (e highest species composition of 17 species was recorded occurrence was recorded between forest and wooded in the forest followed by wooded grassland and the least grassland (0.80) followed by forest and riverine vegetation being riverine vegetation with 13 and 11 species, respectively (0.78), and the least was between wooded grassland and (Table 2). (e variation in species richness among habitats riverine vegetation (0.58). was not significant (χ Based on anecdotal information, the main threats of �1.4, df � 2, and p � 0.492). Grivet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops), gureza (Colobus guereza), mammal species in the study area include illegal hunting, bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus), leopard (Panthera par- investment and agriculture expansion, and charcoaling. dus), and aardvark (Orycteropus afer) were entirely associ- Unlike the adjacent highland forest of the district, the study ated with riverine and forest habitats, while greater kudu area was not deforested until recently because of its inac- (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) and oribi (Ourebi ourebi) were cessibility. However, recently, the situation became trouble; restricted in wooded grassland. On the other hand, olive investors and unemployed youth are scrambling the area for baboon (Papio anubis), crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata), agriculture and charcoaling. Illegal hunting using shotguns spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), common bushbuck was one of the major threats of medium- and large-sized International Journal of Zoology 5 Table 1: List of species recorded in Chimit-Kolla. Order Family Species name Common name Identification methods Potamochoerus larvatus Bushpig Visual + scratch Suidae Phacochoerus africanus Common warthog Visual Oreotragus oreotragus Klipspringer Visual Ourebia ourebi Oribi Visual Artiodactyla Tragelaphus scriptus Common bushbuck Visual Bovidae Tragelaphus strepsiceros Greater kudu Visual Sylvicapra grimmia Common duiker Visual Canis mesomelas Black-backed jackal Visual Panthera pardus Leopard Vocal + interview Felidae Leptailurus serval Serval Visual Carnivora Hyaenidae Crocuta crocuta Spotted hyena Feces Herpestidae Ichneumia albicauda White-tailed mongoose Visual Viverridae Civettictis civetta African civet Scent + feces Hystrix cristata Crested porcupine Feces + spine Rodentia Hystricidae Chlorocebus aethiops Grivet monkey Visual Papio anubis Olive baboon Visual Primates Cercopithecidae Colobus guereza Guereza Visual Tubulidentata Orycteropodidae Orycteropus afer Aardvark Holes + scratches Figure 2: Some photo of mammals and their scat or spine observed during assessment. (a) Olive baboon, (b) grivet monkey, (c) mantled guereza, (d) porcupine scat, (e) civet scat, (f) hyena scat, and (g) scat observation. Table 2: Species diversity and evenness in Chimit-Kolla. Diversity index Riverine Forest Wooded grassland Overall diversity indices No. of species 11 17 13 18 No. of individuals 62 127 84 273 Shannon-H 1.944 2.276 2.216 2.483 Dominance-D 0.1837 0.166 0.1346 0.118 Evenness-e /S 0.6353 0.5726 0.7056 0.663 mammals in the study area. Hunting seems legal to the local National Park and 23 species reported in [40] in Borena- community and practiced for subsistence consumption and Sayint National Park. However, it higher than 12 species for proudness since long time. reported in [41] in Mengaza communal forest, East Gojjam, and in [22] in Wabe forest fragments, Gurage zone, and 15 species reported in [42] in Lebu Natural Protected Area, 5. Discussion Southwest Showa. (e difference in species richness in the In the present study, a total of 18 species medium- and large- current study may attribute to variation in habitats, limited sized mammals were recorded. (e result was in line with 18 period of the study, conservation status, and degree of species reported in [38], in southeastern Brazil, comparable anthropogenic disturbance. with 19 species reported in [39] in Wondo Genet, Ethiopia, (e distribution of mammalian species is usually affected but lower than the 28 species reported in [30] in Dati Wolel by availability of suitable habitats and food sources 6 International Journal of Zoology Table 3: Habitat association and relative abundance of mammal species among habitats. Habitat types Scientific name Total RA (%) Riverine Forest WG Potamochoerus larvatus 1 5 0 6 2.2 Phacochoerus africanus 2 6 1 9 3.3 Oreotragus oreotragus 0 8 6 14 5.1 Ourebi ourebi 0 1 15 16 5.9 Tragelaphus scriptus 2 7 3 12 4.4 Tragelaphus strepsiceros 0 0 6 6 2.2 Sylvicapra grimmia 2 12 8 22 8.1 Canis mesomelas 1 3 6 10 3.7 Leptailurus serval 0 3 2 5 1.8 Crocuta crocuta 2 5 4 11 4 Ichneumia albicauda 0 3 1 4 1.5 Civettictis civetta 5 1 0 6 2.2 Hystrix cristata 3 5 20 28 10 Chlorocebus aethiops 14 15 0 29 10.6 Papio anubis 17 45 11 73 26.7 Colobus guereza 13 5 0 18 6.6 Orycteropus afer 0 2 1 3 1.1 Panthera pardus 0 1 0 1 0.3 WG � wooded grassland; RA � relative abundance. Species Dry Wet Figure 3: Seasonal variation in abundance of medium- and large-sized mammal species. [41, 43, 44]. Mammal species diversity is often positively species are forest specialist restricted in foraging fruits, leaf correlated with increase of food availability (presence of buds, and seed plant species in the forest, hence contribute variety of plant species, fruits, buds, insects, and others), more to species diversity. Other mammal species including water, and the presence of subhabitats [30, 43]. (e highest bushpig, common bushbuck, common duiker, klipspringer, mammal species richness and diversity are associated with leopard, common warthog, and white-tailed mongoose are associated mainly in the forest probably for these reasons. forest habitat in this study, probable due to its relative suitability for food source and shelter as compared to However, terrestrial large mammals are mostly associated wooded grassland and riverine vegetation. Similar studies with wooded grasslands or open grasslands than forest and showed the association of mammal species richness with shrubland [8]. Similarly, in the present study, greater kudu forest habitat in Ethiopia [30, 41, 43]. For example, forest and ourebi are entirely associated with the wooded grassland habitat in the study area has heterogonous range of habitats than forest and riverine vegetation. (e reason might be including chain of mountains and flat plains that enable to linked with the feeding habits (some amount of its diet have different subhabitats for shelter and provide different composition is grass) and easy detection of its predators at a source food for different species. In addition, arboreal distance. Abundance Panthera pardus Orycteropus afer Colobus guereza Papio anubis Chlorocebus aethiops Hystrix cristata Civettictis civetta Ichneumia albicauda Crocuta crocuta Leptailurus serval Canis mesomelas Sylvicapra grimmia Tragelaphus strepsiceros Tragelaphus scriptus Ourebi ourebi Oreotragus Oreotragus Phacochoerus africanus Potamochoerus larvatus International Journal of Zoology 7 Mammal species showed some degree of habitat asso- In contrast, anthropogenic disturbances cause a change in spatial distribution and fragmentation in the natural ciation. In the present study, a considerable highest simi- larity of occurrence of mammal species was observed habitats which in turn limit mammalian species distribution [45]. (e lowest mammalian species diversity recorded in between natural forest and wooded grassland. However, this riverine vegetation in this study is probably due to small area finding contradicts with other reports elsewhere in Ethiopia, coverage and disturbance. Similar result was reported from scrubland and forest [22] and woodland and riverine forest Borena Saint National Park [40]. Mammal species diversity [48]. (e high mammal species similarity in forest and positively correlated with increased area coverage [46]. (e wooded grassland in the present study may attribute to the riverine vegetation has small area coverage than forest and large area coverage unlike riverine vegetation which is very small to harbor a greater number of species. Most of olive wooded grassland. It also faced frequent human disturbance for resource use as it is relatively closer to settlement, which baboon foraging activity is restricted to forest and wooded grassland and sleeping in the cliffs of the forest. limits food accesses and free moment of animals, hence mammal species preferred relatively safe area, the forest. In the present study, the distributional patterns of 6. Conclusion and Recommendations medium- and large-sized mammal species are evenly dis- Assessment of medium- and large-sized mammals in Chi- tributed in wooded grassland, and this contradicts with mit-Kolla revealed the presence of relatively considerable other studies reported on forest [43], agroforestry [39], and number of species. Primates dominate most of the species scrubland [22]. (e relatively even distribution of mammal confined to forest habitat, which are relatively tolerant to species in the present study might be due to uniformity of human disturbance. Carnivore animals such as leopard and the habitat and dispersion of resources. white-tailed mongoose are rare, while large ungulate such as Detection of animals in the forest is difficult due to greater kudu and bushbuck are less abundant, indicting reduced visibility and silent behavior of some mammals [35]. presence of disturbance and their intolerance to disturbance. In contrast to this, most of the mammal species in this study Despite threats facing in the study area not well addressed were recorded in the forest habitat. Yalden [47] reported and need further study, escalating investment and agricul- similar result in southwest Cameron. (is is because forest ture, charcoal production, and persistent hunting are the habitat in the study is relatively open (not uniformly thick) major threats threatening the survival of mammals in the and one can detect animal at distance. In addition, higher study areas. (e study acts as refugia to animals that chased disturbance in nearby wooded grassland and riverine veg- as a result of habitat deterioration in most of the human etation might cause mammals to aggregate in forest habitat, dominated highland areas of the district. However, the area which increase their detection. is not under legal protection and such rapidly increased (e most abundant species recorded in the present study exploitation of the resources will vanish them in short pe- are primates, olive baboon followed by grivet monkey. Both riod. (erefore, the following ideas are recommended to species are mostly associated with forest and riverine vege- conserve the biodiversity in the study area: tation. Several studies have showed the abundance of pri- mates in forest habitat [42, 43, 48]. (e abundance of primates (i) Chimit-Kolla has relatively wildlife potential area, may be attributed to their high reproductive success [49], so it has to be under legal protection by the con- successful invasions of a variety of types of habitat, including cerned bodies. desert, swamp, forest, and montane environments [50], the (ii) A comprehensive study on threats facing by wild diversified foraging behavior [49, 50], and tolerance to human animals in the study area is crucial to establish disturbance [22]. (e presence of rocky mountain cliff in the immediate conservation action to regulate study area probably creates good opportunities to escape from irregularities. predators such as Panthera pardus, thereby contributing to (iii) (e study area has amazing topography and is closer their success. In contrary, the rareness of leopard (Panthera to Debre Markos (Zonal Town). (erefore, im- pardus), aardvark (Orycteropus afer), and white-tailed proving the wildlife resources will add tremendous mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda) in the study might be as- ecotourism values to communities in future. sociated with hunting (hunting leopard for skin and me- dicinal value) and cryptic nature of these mammals. Reports Data Availability by [40, 43] strengthen the present finding of the rareness of leopard in many parts of the country. (e data used to support the findings of this study are In the present study, a relatively high number of species available from the corresponding author upon request. abundance was recorded in dry season. Similar results were reported by different studies in several parts of the Ethiopia Conflicts of Interest and elsewhere [39, 41]. (e reason why a greater number of medium- and large-mammal species observed during the (e authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest. dry season is attributed to an increased visibility. During the dry season, much of the grassland and forest is burnt by Acknowledgments wildlife or deliberately human ignition and also lack of rain caused drying of most of herbaceous plants which leads to (e authors would like to acknowledge Chimet kebele local easy detection wild animals. communities and Gozamin district experts who assisted in 8 International Journal of Zoology [17] E. M. Gese, “Survey and census techniques for canids,” in the field survey. Also, they would like to thank Bahir Dar Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs, C. Sillero-Zubiri, Biodiversity Center for transport service and field assistance M. Hoffman, and D. W. Macdonald, Eds., pp. 273–279, Canid and Tadesse Hundum for preparing the study area map. (e Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, authors express gratitude to the Ethiopian Biodiversity In- stitute for financial support. [18] G. Atnafu and M. 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Species Composition, Diversity, and Habitat Association of Medium- and Large-Sized Mammals in Chimit-Kolla, Abay Gorge, Ethiopia

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Hindawi International Journal of Zoology Volume 2021, Article ID 9960764, 9 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9960764 Research Article Species Composition, Diversity, and Habitat Association of Medium- and Large-Sized Mammals in Chimit-Kolla, Abay Gorge, Ethiopia 1 2 Mengistu Wale and Mesele Yihune Animal Biodiversity Directorate, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, P.O. Box 30726, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Department of Zoological Science, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Correspondence should be addressed to Mengistu Wale; mengw2004@yahoo.com Received 8 March 2021; Revised 18 August 2021; Accepted 7 September 2021; Published 21 September 2021 Academic Editor: Marco Cucco Copyright © 2021 Mengistu Wale and Mesele Yihune. (is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Identifying the species distribution, diversity, and habitat association provides input to launch proper conservation interventions. A survey of medium- and large-sized mammal species was conducted in Chimit-Kolla area to assess their distribution, diversity, and relative abundance in November 2019 to September 2020. Line transect sampling and focus group discussions were used for data collection. Shannon diversity index and Sorenson’s coefficient were used to compute the diversity and habitat utilization of species. (e association of species among habitats was tested using the chi-squared test. In the survey, 18 species of medium- and large-sized mammals belonging to the order Artiodactyla (7 species), Carnivora (6 species), Rodentia (1 species), Primates (3 species) and Tubulidentata (1 species) were recorded. (e association of mammalian species among the three habitats was not significant (p> 0.05). However, the abundance of mammal species was significantly associated with forest habitats (p< 0.05). (ere was a significant variation in abundance of medium- and large-sized mammal species observed in the dry season (157, 57.5%) as compared to the wet season (116, 42.5%) (χ � 6.17, df � 1, and p � 0.013). (e most abundant species was olive baboon (Papio anubis), followed by grivet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops) and crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata). While leopard (Panthera pardus), white-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda), and aardvark (Orycteropus afer) were the rarest mammalian species recorded. Forest habitat has the highest species diversity (H’ � 2.276) than riverine vegetation and wooded grassland. Mammal species showed a considerable similarity among habitats, and the highest similarity was recorded between forest and wooded grassland (S � 0.8). (e study area relatively has considerable numbers of medium- and large-sized mammal species, and urgent conservation action is required to reduce the emerging threats (hunting, charcoal production, agriculture, and investment expansion) and ensure survival of mammal species. ° ° to 280 mm and from 10 C to 30 C, respectively [1]. In ad- 1. Introduction dition, the Rift Valley bisects the western and eastern pla- Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the horn of teaus centrally, which acts as a major zoogeographical Africa. It is known for having diverse ecosystems and al- barrier within the country [2]. (e presence of these alti- titudinal variation which ranges from Ras Dashen (4600 m tudinal and climatic zonal variabilities in the country greatly a.s.l.) to Danakil Depression (126 m b.s.l.) [1, 2]. Surpris- contributed to immense diversity of plant and animal species ingly, 50% the Afrotropical region’s land above 2000 m a.s.l. in Ethiopia [3, 4]. is found in Ethiopia [3]. (ese altitudinal variations enable (e combinations of the abovementioned contributing the country to have a range of climate zones, locally called factors make Ethiopia as one of the potential biodiverse Dega, Woina Dega, Kolla, and Bereha. (e mean annual countries in Africa. (e exact number of recognized rainfall and temperature of the country range from 500 mm mammalian families, genera, and species fluctuates as new 2 International Journal of Zoology known [21, 22]. However, assessing the status of mammal species are described and scientists make other taxonomic revisions [5]. According to reference [6], there are 311 species outside protected areas is equally important even more because of the huge anthropogenic pressures they mammal species in Ethiopia, which belong to 144 genera, 43 families, and 13 orders [5]. absorb from their surrounding environments [22, 23]. Mammals are distributed in almost all habitats and (erefore, studying the status of wildlife outside protected regions of the earth except ice of Antarctica from an ele- areas is a precondition to conserve by establishing pro- vation below sea level up to 6500 m above sea level [7]. (e tected areas based on their potentiality and threat severity majority (98%) of mammalian species occupy terrestrial of the areas. habitats [8]. In Ethiopia, medium- and large-sized mammals Chimit-Kolla is located in Abay Gorge and used as a refugium for wildlife species where their previous adjacent are widely distributed in a wide range of ecosystem from desert to afro-alpine ecosystem [9]. habitats have been destroyed by dense human settlement and agricultural expansion [24]. It is clear that as habitats of Mammals play a great role in proper ecosystem structure and functioning [10, 11]. (ey can modify vegetation wild animals alter, untold numbers of species are dis- appearing before they have been recognized or studied [25]. structure, alter pathways of nutrients, and thereby change species composition in the ecosystem [11]. (ey are par- In addition, mammals particularly antelopes are hunted ticipating in different trophic levels in food webs, contrib- illegally without any protection for meat by the local uting to herbivore regulation, and acting as important seed communities which worth the situation in the area. dispersers for many tree species [10, 11]. (ey are also a vital Chimit-Kolla is not under legal protection yet. Fur- economic resource for local human populations through thermore, there are no well-organized data available about their use as food, pets, artifacts, and tourism [12, 13]. the mammal species diversity and abundance of this area. It is also clear that anthropogenic threats are escalating However, recently escalating natural and anthropogenic factors greatly threatened survival of mammals. (e main through time negatively affecting the survival of wildlife as observed in many of our national parks today [14, 26]. (e natural and human-induced activities that caused the de- pletion of mammal species include habitat loss and frag- situation is expected to be more in unprotected areas such as Chimit-Kolla in Abay Gorge. Conducting surveys enables mentation [8, 14]. A recent assessment of the conservation status of mammal species indicated that at least one-fifth of conservationists to act against factors that caused population mammal species are at risk of extinction in the wild decline [13]. worldwide [8, 15]. A study on 173 mammals’ prehistoric (erefore, the study aims to survey and document the distribution in six continents showed that 50% of their range species composition and habitat association of medium- and area has been lost [15]. Similarly, mammals have been large-sized mammals in Chimit-Kolla and provide baseline hunted illegally for a century for meat and other purpose data for effective conservation of wild animals. even within the national parks in developing countries. As a result, 40% of currently Critically Endangered mammal 2. Materials and Methods species are impacted by hunting [8]. Rapid population growth in developing countries such as Ethiopia and 2.1. Description of the Study Area. (e study was conducted associated increasing demand of agricultural land to in Chimit-Kolla located in Chimet kebele in Gozamin increase productivity are predicted to be a main threat of district (Figure 1). It is located at the southern end of Chimet biodiversity [14]. kebele in Abay Gorge about 30 km and 330 km away from In Ethiopia, mammals in particular and wildlife in Debre Markos town and Addis Ababa city, respectively. general are somewhat conserved in protected areas including Chimit-Kolla consists of an elongated mountain chain forest national parks, sanctuaries, controlled hunting areas, called Jibilat-Mutera forest. Chimit-Kolla is boarded by community conservation areas, and others [16]. However, Chemoga River in the east and Wutrin and Tidima stream in the rapidly increased anthropogenic and natural factors the west and north, respectively. (e area of Chimit-Kolla is seriously threatened the wild mammals of Ethiopia in- 4200 hectares (unpublished data, Gozamin district office). cluding those found in national parks [17, 18]. As a result, at (e agroclimatic zone of Chimit-Kolla is mainly tropical least 36 mammalian species are threatened in the country hot, locally called Kolla [27], with an altitudinal range of [19]. (e impact is highly pronounced in large mammals 900 m a.s.l. near Abay River at southern edges and 2080 m that required large home ranges [20]. (e population of a.s.l at the northern edges. (e area received unimodal African elephant has been declining in Omo National Park rainfall pattern, with May to September being the main rainy and Babille Elephant Sanctuary, mainly due to poaching, season, and the mean annual rainfall distribution ranges habitat loss, and human-elephant conflict that question its from 500 to 1500 mm. (e mean annual temperature record ° ° survival. (is situation is more painful to the world if it of the study area is between 20 C and 35 C (unpublished happens on endemic mammals. data, Gozamin district office). (e study area is located 0 0 Impressive progressive studies have been made in between coordinates of 10 01’10.82”–10 10’37.47” N and 0 0 mammals of Ethiopia particularly in protected areas re- 37 28’44.13”–37 34’28.3” E. cently. However, the fauna of Ethiopia is not well studied (e habitat of the study area was categorized into three and documented as compared to the flora of the country vegetation zones: forest, riverine, and wooded grassland. [14], even the diversity and conservation status of (ere is no organized study on the natural vegetation of the mammalian species outside protected areas are poorly study area. However, the natural vegetation of the study area International Journal of Zoology 3 37°30’0’’E 37°35’0’’E Ethiopia Transect base lines Rivers Forest Riverence vegetation Wooded grass land Chimit boundary 37°30’0’’E 37°35’0’’E N Coordinate System: Adindan UTM Zone 37N Km Projection: Transverse Mercator W E 0 2.5 5 10 Datum: Adindan Scale Factor: 0.9996 Units: Meter Figure 1: Map of Chimit-Kolla. is dominated by trees and grasses including family Faba- 3.2. Data Collection. Data collection was carried out in ceae (Acacia bussei, Acacia albida, Acacia abyssinica, and December 2019 and September 2020 to account both the dry others species), family Moraceae (Ficus sycomorus and and the wet season, respectively. (e survey of medium- and Ficus sur), Boswellia species, and Hyparrhenia species large-sized mammalian species was conducted by walking on foot along the line transect [29, 30]. Observation of (thatching grass). mammals in the field was carried out twice a day, early in the morning (06 : 30–10 : 30 h) and late in the afternoon (16 : 3. Methods 00–18 : 30 h) [30]. Silent detection of mammals using a binocular or naked eye was carried out by walking along 3.1. Sampling Design. A pilot survey was carried out during transect with an average speed of 1.5 km/h or less depending November 2019 to gather information on accessibility, on habitat suitability [31, 32]. Kingdon [33] field guides were vegetation structure, and other factors in the study area. used for further mammal species identification. Some (e study area was stratified into three vegetation zones: mammal species were identified using indirect methods such forest, riverine vegetation, and wooded grassland. A line as footprints, fecal droppings, scents marks, digging marks, transect sampling method was used to assess diversity and sound, and spines [28, 34]. Indirect method is an option abundance of medium- and large-sized mammals [28]. A available to study the distribution and abundance of inac- total of 10 transects were systematically established con- cessible vertebrates such as nocturnal mammals [35]. Ad- sidering habitat potentiality and accessibility: five for forest, ditional information for the presence of mammal species was three for wooded grassland, and two for riverine vegetation. supported by focus group discussion with selected local (e study was limited in some parts of the study area due to community using field guides. (e presence of potential harsh environment, inaccessibility, disturbance, and other anthropogenic wildlife threats was also recorded during field factors. (e length of transects varied from 1.5 km for observation. forest, 2.5 km for wooded grassland to 3 km for riverine vegetation depending on the topography of the area. Each transect was spaced with 0.5 km for forest and 1 km for 3.3. Data Analysis. Data were analyzed using descriptive wooded grassland and riverine vegetation to avoid double statistics. Shannon–Wiener diversity index (H’) was used to counting. (e width of each transect also varies depending calculate the diversity of species using the following formula on the openness or thickness of habitat: 100 m for forest, [36]: H’ � −􏽐 (Pi) (lnPi), where H’ � diversity index, 200 m for wooded grassland, and 50 m for riverine ln � natural logarithm, and Pi � proportion of total sample th vegetation. belonging to the i species (pi � ni/N, where ni is the 10°0’0’’N 10°5’0’’N 10°10’0’’N 10°0’0’’N 10°5’0’’N 10°10’0’’N 4 International Journal of Zoology number of individuals in species i and N is the total number (Tragelaphus scriptus), and common duiker (Sylvicapra of individuals in the community). grimmia) were considered as habitat generalist in this survey Shannon–Wiener evenness index (E) was used to de- being recorded in all three habitats (Table 3). termine pattern of mammalian species distribution in the habitats and computed using the following formula: E � H’/ 4.2. Relative Abundance and Distribution of Mammal Species. H , where H’ � Shannon–Wiener diversity index and max From a total of 273 recorded individuals, the highest number H � lnS, in which ln � natural logarithm and S � the total max (N � 127) was recorded in the forest habitat followed by the number of species in each habitat. Sorenson’s coefficient (S) wooded grassland (N � 84) and the least being riverine was used to compare the similarity between two habitats vegetation (N � 62) (Table 2). (e variation in the abundance with reference to mammalian species composition and of mammal species among the three habitats was significant computed with the following formula: S � 2C/S + S [37], 1 2 2 (χ � 24.02, df � 2, and p � 0.0001). In terms of individual where C � the number of common species in both habitats, species, the most abundant species recorded in the study S � the number of species in habitat one, and S � the 1 2 area was olive baboon followed by grivet monkey and crested number of species in habitat two. (e relative abundance porcupine, which account 26.7%, 10.6%, and 10% of the total index of species (RAI) was calculated by dividing the record, respectively. (e rarest mammal species in this study number of records of each species by the total number of was leopard (0.3%) followed by aardvark 1.1% and white- records of all species. (e chi-squared test was used to test tailed mongoose accounting 1.5% of the total record each significant association of mammal species composition and (Table 3). abundance between different habitats and seasons. (e distributional pattern of medium- and large-sized mammal species within their habitats was somewhat evenly 4. Results distributed across each habitat, but they were more evenly distributed in wooded grassland (E � 0.89) than the forest 4.1. Species Composition and Habitat Association. In this (E � 0.84) and riverine vegetation (E � 0.83) (Table 2). survey, a total of 18 species of medium- and large-sized (ere were a greater number of medium- and large-sized mammals belonging to five orders and nine families were mammals observed in the dry season (157, 57.5%) as identified from 273 records (Table 1). (e order Artiodactyla compared to the wet season (116, 42.5%) (Figure 3). (e has the highest number of species (seven species) which variation was significant (χ � 6.17, df � 1, and p � 0.013) at belong to the family Bovidae with five species and Suidae 95% confidence interval. Olive baboon is the most abundant with two species. (e order Carnivora is represented by six species in both seasons but leopard was recorded only in the species that belong to four families: Felidae (three species), dry season. Hyaenidae, Herpestidae, and Viverridae represented by one species each. While the order Primates is represented by three species in single family, Cercopithecidae. (e other 4.3. Species Diversity. Chimit-Kolla had moderate diversity two orders Tubulidentata and Rodentia are represented by of medium- and large-sized mammal species (H’ � 2.843). one family and species each. More than three-quarter of the Forest habitat has the highest species diversity (H’ � 2.276) species were identified by visual encounter, while the followed by wooded grassland (H’ � 2.216), and the least was remaining species were identified using indirect methods riverine vegetation (H’ � 1.94). Mammal species were rela- (Figure 2). Crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata), spotted tively uniformly distributed in wooded grassland (E � 0.71) hyena (Crocuta crocuta), leopard (Panthera pardus), African followed by riverine habitat. However, Simpson dominance civet (Civettictis civetta), and aardvark (Orycteropus afer) index indicated that the riverine vegetation was dominated were identified using feces/spine, vocal, scent, holes, and by few species (D � 0.18) followed by forest habitat (D � 0.16) scratches. Leopard was identified by vocal sound at night (Table 2). during the dry season and further confirmed from com- Sorenson’s similarity index of medium- and large-sized munity discussion and skin collected in farmer house. mammal species among the three habitats prevailed that (e association of medium- and large-sized mammal more than 50% of species were common among the three species composition showed slight variation among habitats. habitats. However, the highest similarity of mammal species (e highest species composition of 17 species was recorded occurrence was recorded between forest and wooded in the forest followed by wooded grassland and the least grassland (0.80) followed by forest and riverine vegetation being riverine vegetation with 13 and 11 species, respectively (0.78), and the least was between wooded grassland and (Table 2). (e variation in species richness among habitats riverine vegetation (0.58). was not significant (χ Based on anecdotal information, the main threats of �1.4, df � 2, and p � 0.492). Grivet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops), gureza (Colobus guereza), mammal species in the study area include illegal hunting, bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus), leopard (Panthera par- investment and agriculture expansion, and charcoaling. dus), and aardvark (Orycteropus afer) were entirely associ- Unlike the adjacent highland forest of the district, the study ated with riverine and forest habitats, while greater kudu area was not deforested until recently because of its inac- (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) and oribi (Ourebi ourebi) were cessibility. However, recently, the situation became trouble; restricted in wooded grassland. On the other hand, olive investors and unemployed youth are scrambling the area for baboon (Papio anubis), crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata), agriculture and charcoaling. Illegal hunting using shotguns spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), common bushbuck was one of the major threats of medium- and large-sized International Journal of Zoology 5 Table 1: List of species recorded in Chimit-Kolla. Order Family Species name Common name Identification methods Potamochoerus larvatus Bushpig Visual + scratch Suidae Phacochoerus africanus Common warthog Visual Oreotragus oreotragus Klipspringer Visual Ourebia ourebi Oribi Visual Artiodactyla Tragelaphus scriptus Common bushbuck Visual Bovidae Tragelaphus strepsiceros Greater kudu Visual Sylvicapra grimmia Common duiker Visual Canis mesomelas Black-backed jackal Visual Panthera pardus Leopard Vocal + interview Felidae Leptailurus serval Serval Visual Carnivora Hyaenidae Crocuta crocuta Spotted hyena Feces Herpestidae Ichneumia albicauda White-tailed mongoose Visual Viverridae Civettictis civetta African civet Scent + feces Hystrix cristata Crested porcupine Feces + spine Rodentia Hystricidae Chlorocebus aethiops Grivet monkey Visual Papio anubis Olive baboon Visual Primates Cercopithecidae Colobus guereza Guereza Visual Tubulidentata Orycteropodidae Orycteropus afer Aardvark Holes + scratches Figure 2: Some photo of mammals and their scat or spine observed during assessment. (a) Olive baboon, (b) grivet monkey, (c) mantled guereza, (d) porcupine scat, (e) civet scat, (f) hyena scat, and (g) scat observation. Table 2: Species diversity and evenness in Chimit-Kolla. Diversity index Riverine Forest Wooded grassland Overall diversity indices No. of species 11 17 13 18 No. of individuals 62 127 84 273 Shannon-H 1.944 2.276 2.216 2.483 Dominance-D 0.1837 0.166 0.1346 0.118 Evenness-e /S 0.6353 0.5726 0.7056 0.663 mammals in the study area. Hunting seems legal to the local National Park and 23 species reported in [40] in Borena- community and practiced for subsistence consumption and Sayint National Park. However, it higher than 12 species for proudness since long time. reported in [41] in Mengaza communal forest, East Gojjam, and in [22] in Wabe forest fragments, Gurage zone, and 15 species reported in [42] in Lebu Natural Protected Area, 5. Discussion Southwest Showa. (e difference in species richness in the In the present study, a total of 18 species medium- and large- current study may attribute to variation in habitats, limited sized mammals were recorded. (e result was in line with 18 period of the study, conservation status, and degree of species reported in [38], in southeastern Brazil, comparable anthropogenic disturbance. with 19 species reported in [39] in Wondo Genet, Ethiopia, (e distribution of mammalian species is usually affected but lower than the 28 species reported in [30] in Dati Wolel by availability of suitable habitats and food sources 6 International Journal of Zoology Table 3: Habitat association and relative abundance of mammal species among habitats. Habitat types Scientific name Total RA (%) Riverine Forest WG Potamochoerus larvatus 1 5 0 6 2.2 Phacochoerus africanus 2 6 1 9 3.3 Oreotragus oreotragus 0 8 6 14 5.1 Ourebi ourebi 0 1 15 16 5.9 Tragelaphus scriptus 2 7 3 12 4.4 Tragelaphus strepsiceros 0 0 6 6 2.2 Sylvicapra grimmia 2 12 8 22 8.1 Canis mesomelas 1 3 6 10 3.7 Leptailurus serval 0 3 2 5 1.8 Crocuta crocuta 2 5 4 11 4 Ichneumia albicauda 0 3 1 4 1.5 Civettictis civetta 5 1 0 6 2.2 Hystrix cristata 3 5 20 28 10 Chlorocebus aethiops 14 15 0 29 10.6 Papio anubis 17 45 11 73 26.7 Colobus guereza 13 5 0 18 6.6 Orycteropus afer 0 2 1 3 1.1 Panthera pardus 0 1 0 1 0.3 WG � wooded grassland; RA � relative abundance. Species Dry Wet Figure 3: Seasonal variation in abundance of medium- and large-sized mammal species. [41, 43, 44]. Mammal species diversity is often positively species are forest specialist restricted in foraging fruits, leaf correlated with increase of food availability (presence of buds, and seed plant species in the forest, hence contribute variety of plant species, fruits, buds, insects, and others), more to species diversity. Other mammal species including water, and the presence of subhabitats [30, 43]. (e highest bushpig, common bushbuck, common duiker, klipspringer, mammal species richness and diversity are associated with leopard, common warthog, and white-tailed mongoose are associated mainly in the forest probably for these reasons. forest habitat in this study, probable due to its relative suitability for food source and shelter as compared to However, terrestrial large mammals are mostly associated wooded grassland and riverine vegetation. Similar studies with wooded grasslands or open grasslands than forest and showed the association of mammal species richness with shrubland [8]. Similarly, in the present study, greater kudu forest habitat in Ethiopia [30, 41, 43]. For example, forest and ourebi are entirely associated with the wooded grassland habitat in the study area has heterogonous range of habitats than forest and riverine vegetation. (e reason might be including chain of mountains and flat plains that enable to linked with the feeding habits (some amount of its diet have different subhabitats for shelter and provide different composition is grass) and easy detection of its predators at a source food for different species. In addition, arboreal distance. Abundance Panthera pardus Orycteropus afer Colobus guereza Papio anubis Chlorocebus aethiops Hystrix cristata Civettictis civetta Ichneumia albicauda Crocuta crocuta Leptailurus serval Canis mesomelas Sylvicapra grimmia Tragelaphus strepsiceros Tragelaphus scriptus Ourebi ourebi Oreotragus Oreotragus Phacochoerus africanus Potamochoerus larvatus International Journal of Zoology 7 Mammal species showed some degree of habitat asso- In contrast, anthropogenic disturbances cause a change in spatial distribution and fragmentation in the natural ciation. In the present study, a considerable highest simi- larity of occurrence of mammal species was observed habitats which in turn limit mammalian species distribution [45]. (e lowest mammalian species diversity recorded in between natural forest and wooded grassland. However, this riverine vegetation in this study is probably due to small area finding contradicts with other reports elsewhere in Ethiopia, coverage and disturbance. Similar result was reported from scrubland and forest [22] and woodland and riverine forest Borena Saint National Park [40]. Mammal species diversity [48]. (e high mammal species similarity in forest and positively correlated with increased area coverage [46]. (e wooded grassland in the present study may attribute to the riverine vegetation has small area coverage than forest and large area coverage unlike riverine vegetation which is very small to harbor a greater number of species. Most of olive wooded grassland. It also faced frequent human disturbance for resource use as it is relatively closer to settlement, which baboon foraging activity is restricted to forest and wooded grassland and sleeping in the cliffs of the forest. limits food accesses and free moment of animals, hence mammal species preferred relatively safe area, the forest. In the present study, the distributional patterns of 6. Conclusion and Recommendations medium- and large-sized mammal species are evenly dis- Assessment of medium- and large-sized mammals in Chi- tributed in wooded grassland, and this contradicts with mit-Kolla revealed the presence of relatively considerable other studies reported on forest [43], agroforestry [39], and number of species. Primates dominate most of the species scrubland [22]. (e relatively even distribution of mammal confined to forest habitat, which are relatively tolerant to species in the present study might be due to uniformity of human disturbance. Carnivore animals such as leopard and the habitat and dispersion of resources. white-tailed mongoose are rare, while large ungulate such as Detection of animals in the forest is difficult due to greater kudu and bushbuck are less abundant, indicting reduced visibility and silent behavior of some mammals [35]. presence of disturbance and their intolerance to disturbance. In contrast to this, most of the mammal species in this study Despite threats facing in the study area not well addressed were recorded in the forest habitat. Yalden [47] reported and need further study, escalating investment and agricul- similar result in southwest Cameron. (is is because forest ture, charcoal production, and persistent hunting are the habitat in the study is relatively open (not uniformly thick) major threats threatening the survival of mammals in the and one can detect animal at distance. In addition, higher study areas. (e study acts as refugia to animals that chased disturbance in nearby wooded grassland and riverine veg- as a result of habitat deterioration in most of the human etation might cause mammals to aggregate in forest habitat, dominated highland areas of the district. However, the area which increase their detection. is not under legal protection and such rapidly increased (e most abundant species recorded in the present study exploitation of the resources will vanish them in short pe- are primates, olive baboon followed by grivet monkey. Both riod. (erefore, the following ideas are recommended to species are mostly associated with forest and riverine vege- conserve the biodiversity in the study area: tation. Several studies have showed the abundance of pri- mates in forest habitat [42, 43, 48]. (e abundance of primates (i) Chimit-Kolla has relatively wildlife potential area, may be attributed to their high reproductive success [49], so it has to be under legal protection by the con- successful invasions of a variety of types of habitat, including cerned bodies. desert, swamp, forest, and montane environments [50], the (ii) A comprehensive study on threats facing by wild diversified foraging behavior [49, 50], and tolerance to human animals in the study area is crucial to establish disturbance [22]. (e presence of rocky mountain cliff in the immediate conservation action to regulate study area probably creates good opportunities to escape from irregularities. predators such as Panthera pardus, thereby contributing to (iii) (e study area has amazing topography and is closer their success. In contrary, the rareness of leopard (Panthera to Debre Markos (Zonal Town). (erefore, im- pardus), aardvark (Orycteropus afer), and white-tailed proving the wildlife resources will add tremendous mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda) in the study might be as- ecotourism values to communities in future. sociated with hunting (hunting leopard for skin and me- dicinal value) and cryptic nature of these mammals. Reports Data Availability by [40, 43] strengthen the present finding of the rareness of leopard in many parts of the country. (e data used to support the findings of this study are In the present study, a relatively high number of species available from the corresponding author upon request. abundance was recorded in dry season. Similar results were reported by different studies in several parts of the Ethiopia Conflicts of Interest and elsewhere [39, 41]. (e reason why a greater number of medium- and large-mammal species observed during the (e authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest. dry season is attributed to an increased visibility. 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International Journal of ZoologyHindawi Publishing Corporation

Published: Sep 21, 2021

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