Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) Population Densities and Distribution in Dry and Wet Season in the Kilimanjaro Landscape

Noah Sitati, Kenana Lekishon, Samuel Bakari, Fiesta Warinwa, Stephen Ndambuki Mwiu, Nathan Gichohi, Elphas Bitok, Machoke Mwita, Hamza K. Ija, Joseph Mukeka
2014 Natural Resources  
The conservation of migratory wildlife species in the savannah habitat can be a challenge because of frequent and prolonged drought and their requirements for a large area. We investigated the performance of the wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) population in the 25,624 km 2 Kilimanjaro landscape of Kenya and Tanzania, which comprises Amboseli-West Kilimanjaro-Magadi-Natron after 2009 drought. We used total aerial counts to determine the spatial distribution and numbers of wildebeests during
more » ... t and dry season in 2010 and 2013. Global Positioning System and digital voice recorders were used to count wildebeests along established transects within blocks. There was an increase in the wildebeest population by 103% during the wet season and 14% during the dry season between 2010 and 2013. The seasonal variation in density occurred between the four counting blocks with Natron and Magadi areas recording the highest densities. Generally, the increase in population could be attributed to the recovery of the population after the 2009 drought. The current cross border collaboration between Kenya and Tanzania in aerial surveys is an important step in the conservation of this migratory species in the landscape. This study demonstrates that detailed knowledge of density and spatial distribution of migratory species is required to plan effective conservation action.
doi:10.4236/nr.2014.513070 fatcat:loyj4yczkfbrfm56qxyhnaxufm