Some aspects of the ecology of bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus Pallas 1776) in the southern Cape

Odendaal, Pieter Benjamin (1977-03)

Thesis (MSc (Forestry))--Stellenbosch University, 1977.


The social biology and habitat selection of bushbuok, Tragelaphus scriptus, was investigated by ra~io-tracking five bushbuck in the same area, three males and two females. A large degree of over= lap of home ranges was shown to exist. Evidence is advanced to suggest the existence of a time-mechanism to separate individuals whose home ranges overlap. Subadult males have larger home ranges than females. Crepuscular peaks were exhibited in the activity pattern of the study animals. Of 1 380 animals observed in this study, 61% occurred singly and 29% in twos. Breeding is probably throughout the year with peaks in the rate of parturition in April, July-August and November. Bushbuck show a need for canopy cover during the day but will frequent areas with lateral cover or even no cover during the night. Although the indigenous forests are of great importance to bushbuck, evidence was found that they can exist in a very much modified environment such as pinus spp stands. Bushbuck occur at densities of about 3-5 animals!k~ in the Southern Cape. They feed on a wide array of food plants but are mostly browsers with grasses constituting only about five per cent of the diet. A surprisingly high incidence of mushrooms were found in the diet during winter. Some indications exist of the possible presence of sub-optimal feeding conditions during winter. Information is also presented on nutritional element levels, external parasites and morphological data.

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