CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Wildlife Research   
Wildlife Research
Journal Banner
  Ecology, Management and Conservation in Natural and Modified Habitats
 
blank image Search
 
blank image blank image
blank image
 
  Advanced Search
   

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Board
Contacts
Content
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Notice to Authors
Submit Article
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter youtube

 

Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 40(3)

Daily movement responses by African savanna ungulates as an indicator of seasonal and annual food stress

Norman Owen-Smith

Centre for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits 2050, South Africa. Email: norman.owen-smith@wits.ac.za

Wildlife Research 40(3) 232-240 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR13024
Submitted: 21 November 2012  Accepted: 16 April 2013   Published: 13 May 2013


 
PDF (327 KB) $25
 Supplementary Material
 Export Citation
 Print
  
Abstract

Context: Daily movement responses could indicate food deficiencies threatening population persistence before consequences for population performance become manifested. Animals should respond to food deficiencies by spending less time in foraging areas and hence by moving more frequently between such areas between one day and the next.

Aim: To establish whether the day-to-day movements of a locally threatened ruminant (sable antelope) reflected anticipated seasonal and annual variation in food stress, in comparison with a non-ruminant grazer that was thriving despite being dependent on basically similar food resources (zebra).

Methods: Diel (24 h) displacement distances that were derived from geographic positioning systems (GPS) telemetry were used to make the following comparisons: (1) between benign and adverse seasons, (2) among years differing in rainfall, (3) between the remnant sable herd and herds of zebra in the same region, and (4) between this sable antelope herd and sable herds in a wetter region where food should be more abundant.

Key results: Sable herds generally moved further from day to day in the late dry season than in the wet or early dry season, especially in the years with less rainfall, and greater movement was shown by the sable herd in the drier region than for herds in the wetter region. Zebra herds generally moved further from day to day than the sable herd occupying the same region, but showed less change in their diel displacement distances during the late dry season.

Key conclusions: Findings were consistent with the expected effects of seasonal, annual and regional differences in food availability on the daily movement distances of sable antelope herds.

Implications: Daily movement distances could serve as an indicator of when and where food deficiencies are experienced by sable antelope and perhaps other large ungulates.



References

Bailey, D. W., Gross, J. E., Laca, E. A., Rittenhouse, L. R., Coughenour, M. B., Swift, D. M., and Sims, P. L. (1996). Mechanisms that result in large herbivore grazing distribution patterns. Journal of Range Management 49, 386–400.
CrossRef |

Cagnacci, F., Boitani, L., Powell, R. A., and Boyce, M. S. (2010). Animal ecology meets GPS-based radiotelemetry: a perfect storm of opportunities and challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365, 2157–2162.

Cain, J. W., Owen-Smith, N., and Macandza, V. (2012). The costs of drinking: comparative water dependency of sable antelope and zebra. Journal of Zoology 286, 58–67.
CrossRef |

Chirima, G. J., Owen-Smith, N., Erasmus, B. N. F., and Parrini, F. (2013). Distributional niche of a relatively rare large herbivore: habitat template versus biotic interactions. Ecography 36, 68–79.

Fryxell, J. M., Hazell, M., Borger, L., Dalziel, B. D., Haydon, D. T., Morales, J. M., McIntosh, T., and Rosatte, R. T. (2008). Multiple movement models by large herbivore at multiple spatiotemporal scales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105, 19114–19119.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

Johnson, C. J., Parker, K. L., Heard, D. C., and Gillingham, M. P. (2002). A multiscale behavioral approach to understanding the movements of woodland caribou. Ecological Applications 12, 1840–1860.
CrossRef |

Kotler, B. P., Morris, D. W., and Brown, J. S. (2007). Behavioral indicators and conservation: wielding “The Biologist’s Tricorder”. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 53, 237–244.
CrossRef |

Macandza, V., Owen-Smith, N., and Cain, J. W. (2012). Habitat and resource partitioning between abundant and relatively rare grazing ungulates. Journal of Zoology 287, 175–185.
CrossRef |

Nathan, R., Getz, W. M., Revilla, E., Holyoak, M., Kadmon, R., Saltz, D., and Smouse, P. E. (2008). A movement ecology paradigm for unifying organismal animal movement research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 105, 19052–19059.
CrossRef | CAS |

Ogutu, J. O., and Owen-Smith, N. (2003). ENSO, rainfall and temperature influences on extreme population declines among African savanna ungulates. Ecology Letters 6, 412–419.
CrossRef |

Owen-Smith, N. (2002). ‘Adaptive Herbivore Ecology. From Resources to Populations in Variable Environments.’ (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.)

Owen-Smith, N., and Cain, J. W. (2007). Indicators of adaptive responses in home range use and movements by a large mammalian herbivore. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 53, 423–438.
CrossRef |

Owen-Smith, N., and Mills, M. G. L. (2006). Manifold interactive influences on the population dynamics of a multi-species ungulate assemblage. Ecological Monographs 76, 93–109.
CrossRef |

Owen-Smith, N., Goodall, V., and Fatti, P. (2012a). Applying mixture models to derive activity states from movement rates of large herbivores obtained using GPS telemetry. Wildlife Research 39, 452–462.

Owen-Smith, N., Chirima, G. J., Macandza, V., and Le Roux, E. (2012b). Shrinking sable antelope numbers in Kruger National Park: what is suppressing population recovery? Animal Conservation 15, 195–204.
CrossRef |

R Development Core Team (2010). ‘R. A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing.’ (R Foundation for Statistical Computing: Vienna.)


   
Subscriber Login
Username:
Password:  

 
    
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help

CSIRO

© CSIRO 1996-2015