Population Status and Habitat Association of Waterbuck (Kobus Ellipsiprymnus Ellipsiprymnus Ogilby, 1833) in Maze National Park, South Western Ethiopia
The population status and habitat association of the waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus ellipsiprymnus) were studied in Maze National Park (MzNP) during the wet and dry seasons in the year 2018–2019. The study aimed to investigate the population status, distribution and habitat association of waterbuck in the Park. Eight representative transects were randomly laid down across the main four habitat types; four for the savannah grasslands with scattered trees, two for the riverine forest, and one for the open grassland and one for the bushland habitat. Counts were carried out in around 20% of the total area of the Park. The estimated mean population size of waterbuck in the Park was 527±47 individuals. Male to female sex ratio was 1.00:1.36. Sub-adults (55.70%) were the dominant population followed by adults and calves. A herd size was larger during the wet season, while smaller in the dry season with the mean group size of 16.8±3.16 and 9.4±1, respectively. The larger groups were observed in the riverine forest between 1–2 km distances from the permanent water source. Availability of water, abundance of food, vegetation cover, and topographic features for predator avoidance were the major factors influencing the distribution of waterbucks in the study area. Therefore, the Park management and other concerned bodies should give more attention on the access of water and forage by digging artificial water hole and controlled burning of the grassland area of the Park.
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