Diversity, relative abundance and distribution of medium and large-sized mammals in Mago National Park, southern Ethiopia
Keywords:Diversity indices, Species richness, Seasonal variation, Transect lines
Most medium- and large-sized mammals have declined in Ethiopia, even within protected areas. However, there is still a lack of information to determine their status. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the diversity, relative abundance, and distribution of medium- and largesized mammals in Mago National Park, Southern Ethiopia. A stratified systematic sampling design was used to establish line transects along the three main habitat types, namely: Woodland, Acacia savanna, and Riverine forest. A total of 45 line transects were established throughout the whole habitat, with transect lengths varying from 1.5 to 5 km, depending on the size and topography of the habitat. The data were analysed via EstimateS (EstimateS v. 9.1) and species diversity indexes in R version 3.6.2. Twenty-eight medium- and large-sized mammalian species, including six globally threatened species:the endangered Loxodanta african and Lycaon pictus, and the vulnerable Panthera pardus, Acinonyx jubatus, Nanger soemmerringii, and Panthera leo, were recorded in the area, belonging to eight families and five orders. During both the dry and wet seasons, the highest species diversity (H' = 2.81 and H' = 2.96), respectively, was recorded in Woodland habitat, whereas species diversity was the lowest ( H' = 2.5 and H'= 2.67), respectively, in Riverine forest. In terms of abundance, Tragelaphus imberbis (1773 ± 86, 12%) was the most abundant species, while Vulpes chama was the least abundant species (104 ± 13), representing only less than 1% of the total population. Therefore, Mago National Park harbours a high species diversity of medium- and largesized mammals and could provide baseline information for the responsible bodies of the Park and for researchers who wish to conduct related ecological studies in the area.
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