Terrain encountered along the browsing path of Tragelaphus strepsiceros in the Musina Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province

20 Jun 2020

Despite the wide distribution of the Tragelaphus strepsiceros (greater kudu) in the mopane woodland, there is still limited information on the influence of terrain on the browsing path of the greater kudu. There is also a lack of information on terrain associated with the browsing paths of male and female greater kudu.This study was conducted at Musina Nature Reserve from June 2012 to December 2013. Backtracking,which is a post-browsing method, was used to capture the movement of browsing greater kudu. This method entails the direct and indirect observation of the greater kudu at the point of browsing along a browsing path. The different terrains on which the greater kudu moved while browsing are taken as a percentage of the total browsing path. Areas frequented by male and female greater kudu were compared using t-test (Paired Two Sample for Means) and Spearman Correlation Coefficient analysis. Results indicated that the browsing greater kudu highly frequented the plains (72%) and flat areas (95%), particularly during the late wet season. During the pre-rain flush season, the browsing greater kudu spent most of the time (59%) walking on soil substrate. The eastern (50%) and northern (50%) aspects of hills were equally frequented during the late wet season. There were no significant gender differences on the preferred terrain. It is concluded that the browsing path of the greater kudu is largely influenced by the availability of browse, safety and conducive local weather conditions.