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Effects of annual rainfall and habitat types on the body mass of impala (Aepyceros melampus) in the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe

Abstract : Body mass is often considered as a good indicator of body condition of individuals in ungulates, hence of their fit-ness, and thus, may be used as an index to monitor the sta-tus of populations subject to harvesting schemes. Here, we report the influence of annual rainfall (a proxy for pri-mary production) and habitat on the body mass of impala in a population cropped for meat in a communal area of Zimbabwe. We analyzed the data from 2 contrasted years for rainfall, in two different habitats. In the good year (i.e. high annual rainfall) impala were heavier than in the poor year, and adult females seemed to be less affected than males by variation in primary production. We show that adult males were suffering from a seasonal decrease in body mass, supposedly linked to the rut, particularly in good habitat Overall, the habitat effect appeared to be dominated by the rainfall effect, and this may be due to the very high animal densities in the good habitat, i.e. fast resource depletion. Our results also suggest that males (juvenile and adult) are more susceptible to changes in food resource abundance and quality than females, which supports previous studies on sexually dimorphic and polygynous species.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00191501
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Submitted on : Monday, November 26, 2007 - 10:25:21 AM
Last modification on : Friday, October 8, 2021 - 4:26:31 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-00191501, version 1

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Mathieu Bourgarel, Hervé Fritz, Jean-Michel Gaillard, Michel de Garine-Wichatitsky, F. Maudet. Effects of annual rainfall and habitat types on the body mass of impala (Aepyceros melampus) in the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe. African Journal of Ecology, Wiley, 2002, 40, pp.186-193. ⟨hal-00191501⟩

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