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Title: Ecology and conservation of mountain nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni: Lydekker 1910) in Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
Author: Mamo, Yosef
ISNI:       0000 0001 3617 801X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
The study dealt with four themes of importance for conservation of T. buxtoni (hereafter MN). Firstly distance sampling technique involving transects and total count methods were employed to assess population size and dynamics of MN. The study revealed that the total population size of MN in the study area varied between 887-965 individuals at 95%CI, representing a reduction by about 48% from what was reported in 1980's and a reduction of about 74% from what was reported for 1969. However, due to contraction of its habitat, average densities of MN have increased from what was reported in 1980's. More than half (54%) of the population is represented by adults and the population has the a sex ratio of2:1 (~ : 0). The sub-population ofMN in Dinsho sanctuary is 'closed population' because no evidence was found to suggest that the D.insho sub-population is mixing with the rest. The study forecasts a continual decrease of MN population by a rate of about 2% - 5% annually if no action is taken to counteract it. No conclusive evidence was found to suggest that innate demographic traits of the·species have made significant contribution to observed decline in population size as many parameters (i.e., recruitment, rate of increase, age structure except male adult and calves group, and group size) were similar in 1983-85 and 2003-05. Secondlv, randomly laid plots along transect lines were used to describe the basic components (vegetation types) of the MN habitat range and assess how MN relates to them. Accordingly six major vegetation types were recorded in Gaysay grassland habitat; among which Hypericum bush, mixed vegetations and Artemesia bush are the most selected and hence most preferred by MN. Similar numbers of vegetation types were recorded in AdelaylDinsho woodlands; among which, montane open grassland and Hypericum woodland are the most selected and thus preferred vegetation types by MN. When all vegetation types pooled together, levels of browsing decreases significantly with increase in vegetation height; while increases with increase in patch size. However, positive correlations were observed hetween levels of browsing and vegetation hlight for Helichrisum species; while negative correlation for Artemesia and open grassland in terms of patch size. Thirdlv, the effects of livestock and humans on availability, structure and composition ofMN habitat were investigated. The result revealed that presence of livestock and humans had negatively affected vegetation structure, composition and habitat availability to MN. Moreover, presence of livestock and their signs (droppings) were negatively correlated with presence of MN and their droppings. Fourthly, structured questionnaire and interviews directed to randomly selected households in 7 villages were used to assess the attitudes, and awareness of the local communities towards conservation of the park's flora and fauna with particular emphasis on MN. About a quarter of respondents (26%) felt that they benefited while 55% felt that they experienced conflict from the park. The most important benefits identified were leasing of horses to tourist's (62%) and serving as tourist guide (44%). Significant majority (83%) of the respondents believes that there is lack of equity in benefit distribution. The main conflicts identified were resentment due to forceful relocation (84%) and livestock grazing restriction (74%). Perceived benefits and conflicts were significantly variable across livelihood strategy than proximity and duration of settlements. The majority of respondents (66%) believe that their presence in the area does not contribute to degradation of MN habitat, an attitude more commonly held among recent settlers than long-term settlers. The overall attitude of the local people towards the park appeared to be positive since, for example, 80% of respondents would support the park's conservation activities if given the chance, suggesting that there is scope to enhance cooperation and improve the-prospects for conservation of the MN and its habitat.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.487340  DOI: Not available
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