Density Estimate and Habitat Association of Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) in Forested Ecosystem of Western Ethiopia

Mosissa Geleta Erena, Afework Bekele, Habte Jebessa Debella

Abstract


A study on density estimate and habitat association of Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) in Jorgo-Wato Protected Forest, Ethiopia, was carried out from 2016-2017 encompassing the wet and dry seasons. The density of Cape buffalo was estimated indirectly through faecal standing crop and faecal accumulation rate dung count methods. Dung piles were counted using strip transects laid in proportion to the predetermined Cape buffalo density in six blocks. Habitat association was inferred from direct and indirect evidences assuming that Cape buffalo signs were proportional to their distribution and habitat use. The density of Cape buffalo was 0.77 individuals/km2 in wet and 0.64 individuals/km2 in dry seasons. Cape buffalo utilized more open (23.1%) and plantation (19.3%) forests during the wet season and open (18.5%) and riparian (13.2%) forests during the dry season. Dense forest was less utilized during both seasons but riparian forest during the wet season. Density of Cape buffalo was low in Jorgo-Wato Protected Forest which could be linked to the impacts of various anthropogenic activities in the forest. Intense human pressure during the daytime made Cape buffalo rest in thicket riverine forest during the day but in open forest, on road and clearings during the night time.


Keywords


Cape Buffalo; Dung Count; Density Estimate; Ethiopia; Jorgo-Wato Protected Forest

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