Independent Evaluation of Hirola Antelope Beatragus hunteri Conservation Status and Conservation Action in Kenya.
Technical Report, September 2000. 189 Seiten. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1129.2246
The hirola (or Hunter’s antelope) Beatragus hunteri is a "Critically Endangered" genus and species endemic to south-east Kenya and south-west Somalia. This report compiles much of the information that is available on this species, and reviews and evaluates its taxonomy, abundance, distribution, and conservation status. This report also evaluates the major activities implemented on behalf of the conservation of the hirola and makes recommendations for the conservation of this species/genus both in situ and ex situ.
The hirola is one of the world’s most threatened genera of large mammal. This species is now either in low numbers or extinct in Somalia. The natural population in Kenya declined from about 14,000 individuals in the l970s to somewhere between 500 and 2,000 animals today.The historic range of the hirola in Kenya and Somalia is estimated at roughly 38,400 km2. The range of the hirola in Kenya declined from about 17,900 km2 in the 1960s to approximately 7,600 km2 in 1996. Today, only the central portion of the species’ historic range in Kenya is occupied.
In 1963, a founder population of 10-20 hirola was released into Tsavo East National Park. This population grew to 79 individuals by 1996. In 1996, another 29 hirola were placed into this population. There were an estimated 105 hirola in the Tsavo population in 1998. This population now ranges over an area of ca. 600 km2.
The decline of the hirola on the species’ natural range is probably due to a combination of factors, including disease, drought, poaching, competition with livestock, habitat loss and degradation. This report discusses the possible contribution of each of these factors to the decline of the hirola. The most likely scenario is that a combination of rinderpest and food shortage (due to drought, competition with livestock and habitat loss/degradation) caused the natural population of hirola to crash between 1983 and 1985, from at least 10,000 animals to fewer than 2,000 animals. Continuing disease and poaching on the natural range have probably combined to prevent this population from recovering.
The following are among the more important recommendations put forth in this report for the conservation of the hirola:
- Transfer the focus of the field research programme from the ex situ population in Tsavo East National Park to the in situ “natural population” in Garissa District and increase the number of Kenya and Somali researchers.
- Abandon attempts to determine the absolute size of the natural population of hirola and begin a monitoring program that provides information on relative population size and population trend.
- Future translocations from the natural population to new sites should only capture yearlings. This should be done by darting from a helicopter. There appears to be no good rational for capturing adults or for capturing entire groups.
- Retain at least part of the populations of newly translocated hirola in large (4-10 km2) bomas. This should significantly enhance population establishment and growth.
- Every effort needs to be made to save the hirola in situ while establishing several ex situ populations and a captive population as “insurance” against the possible failure to save the in situ population. To help ensure the long-term survival of the hirola, five additional populations should be established in Kenya and a viable captive population must be established outside of Kenya. The priority site for the introduction of the next population of hirola on a KWS managed area is Meru National Park, followed by Tsavo West National Park. The priority site for the establishment of a hirola population on a private game sanctuary is the Ol Jogi
(Pyramid) Wildlife Sanctuary, followed by the Athi River Game Ranch. Most of the founder animals for these new populations should come from the natural population in Garissa District, after careful and full negotiation with local stakeholders. As an initial undertaking, however, consideration should be given to translocating the threatened Mackinnon Group of 15 hirola from the heavily poached Kulalu Ranch (east of Tsavo East National Park) to the Ol Jogi (Pyramid) Wildlife Sanctuary.
- KWS, with assistance from the Hirola Management Committee, should reestablish its presence within the natural range of the hirola. The priority should be to reestablish the KWS base at Ijara, followed by reestablishment of the KWS base at Massa Bubu.
- KWS, with assistance from the Hirola Management Committee, needs to renew and greatly expand its conservation education, public awareness and public relations work within the natural range of the hirola, particularly in Garissa District. This might be achieved largely by working with and through the Harroru Community Hirola Conservation Group, the Garissa Development Committee and the Garissa District Administration.
BOVIDS: A deep learning-based software package for pose estimation to evaluate nightly behavior and its application to common elands (Tragelaphus oryx) in zoos.
Ecology and Evolution 12 (3): e8701. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8701
Only a few studies on the nocturnal behavior of African ungulates exist so far, with mostly small sample sizes. For a comprehensive understanding of nocturnal behavior, the data basis needs to be expanded. Results obtained by observing zoo animals can provide clues for the study of wild animals and furthermore contribute to a better understanding of animal welfare and better husbandry conditions in zoos. The current contribution reduces the lack of data in two ways. First, we present a stand-alone open-source software package based on deep learning techniques, named Behavioral Observations by Videos and Images using Deep-Learning Software (BOVIDS). It can be used to identify ungulates in their enclosure and to determine the three behavioral poses “Standing,” “Lying—head up,” and “Lying—head down” on 11,411 h of video material with an accuracy of 99.4%. Second, BOVIDS is used to conduct a case study on 25 common elands (Tragelaphus oryx) out of 5 EAZA zoos with a total of 822 nights, yielding the first detailed description of the nightly behavior of common elands. Our results indicate that age and sex are influencing factors on the nocturnal activity budget, the length of behavioral phases as well as the number of phases per behavioral state during the night while the keeping zoo has no significant influence. It is found that males spend more time in REM sleep posture than females while young animals spend more time in this position than adult ones. Finally, the results suggest a rhythm between the Standing and Lying phases among common elands that opens future research directions.
Reproductive anatomy,manipulation of ovarian activity and non-surgical embryo recovery in suni (Neotragus moschatus zuluensis).
J. Reprod. Fert. 88: 521-532.
Marked disparity in the uterine horn dimensions and relative degrees of caruncle development in suni suggested that exclusive or predominant dextral implantation occurs in association with bilateral ovulatory activity. Daily urinary measurements of pregnanediol-3-alpha-glucuronide revealed an oestrous cycle of ca. 21 days in length. Ovarian activity was controlled for synchronization of oestrus by using progestagen-impregnated intravaginal sponges and multiple ovulations were induced by using exogenous gonadotrophin therapy. An effective transcervical uterine catheterization technique was developed for the non-surgical collection of embryos. The efficiency of embryo recovery performed 5 days after sponge removal was 50-0%.
The reproductive behaviour of the suni Neotragus moschatus zuluensis in captivity.
Koedoe 39 (1) 123-126.
Population management as a tool in the recovery of the critically endangered Western Derby eland Taurotragus derbianus in Senegal, Africa.
Wildlife Biology, 17(3) : 299-310. DOI: 10.2981/10-019.
The critically endangered Western Derby elandTaurotragus derbianus derbianus, representing,200 wild individuals,undoubtedly needs a coordinated conservation programme. To promote the survival of this subspecies, a singleworldwide semi-captive population was established in Senegal in 2000, with one male and five female founderstransferred from the Niokolo Koba National Park. To determine a long-term conservation strategy, we useddemographic and pedigree data based on continuous monitoring of reproduction during 2000 - 2009 in breedingenclosures in the Bandia and Fathala Reserves, in conjunction with modelling software. In 2009, the semi-captivepopulation consisted of 54 living individuals (26 males and 28 females), managed using the minimal kinship strategy.The female breeding probability was 84%, annual calf and adult mortality rates were 5.09% and 3.27%, respectively,and the annual population growth rate was 1.36. As the population grew, the animals were progressively separated intofive herds within tworeserves. A pedigree analysis revealedan effective population size of 6.72 andan Ne/N ratio of 0.13.The population retained 77% of the gene diversity (GD). The founder genome equivalent (FGE¼2.21) was relativelylow due to the overrepresentation of one founder male. Although the mean level of inbreeding (F) reached 0.119, asignificant potential GD (92%) was still retained. In this article, we predict GD development in this population in thenext 100 years with the inclusion of new founders. If the whole wild population were included, we could maintain 90%of GD. As this option is not practically feasible, we present three options with the goal of maintaining 75% GD. Wehighly recommend capturing new founders from the remaining wild population to ensure the survival of the subspeciesat least in semi-captivity, which could allow possible reinforcement of the wild population or reintroduction in thefuture. The semi-captive population, if appropriately constituted and genetically managed, could play a considerablerole in Western Derby eland conservation.
AZA Antelope Husbandry Manual - Cephalophinae.
San Diego Wild Animal Park
General Characteristics, Veterinary Care, Nutrition, Captive Management, Housing and Enclosure Requirements, Behavior and Social Organization, Reproduction and Ontogeny, Assisted Reproduction Techniques, Contraception, Hand Rearing, Role of Keeper in Animal Management, In Situ Programs, References, Acknowledgments, Bibliography
Flagship but only locally: bongo Tragelaphus eurycerus taxonomic history and its effects on current conservation policy.
GAZELLA 44: 65-76.
A review of historical literature plus the examination of zoos and museum specimens and available photos from internet source revealed the hidden diversity of the bongo antelopes, presently Tragelaphus eurycerus. While the Kenya montane form isaaci has received most conservation support in recent years, the present review highlights the species status of the little-known Upper Guinean nominal taxon. Waiting for a through taxonomic revision of the whole complex especially in the central forest block, the Central-Eastern bongos are better considered as members of a distinct species Tragelaphus albovirgatus Du Chaillu, 1861, provisionally considered to include a number of ‘subspecies’. The conservation status of T. albovirgatus and especially of T. eurycerus need further investigations even considering that, excepted for the Kenyan taxon isaaci, their survival may depends exclusively on in situ conservation activities.
Über die ersten Bongos in Paris.
BULETTE Berlin 7: 215-219.
Es wird über die Ersteinfuhr eines (Westlichen) Bongos in einen europäischen Zoologischen Garten berichtet, die 1927 durch die Menagerie des Jardin des Plantes, Paris, erfolgte. Ferner über die zweite Einfuhr eines Bongos nach Paris, der 1939 im Zoo de Vincennes gehalten wurde. Die Tiere werden fotografisch dokumentiert.
Evaluating the activity patterns and enclosure usage of a little-studied zoo species, the sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii).
Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 1 (1):14-19.
Ungulates can be underrepresented in zoo animal behaviour and welfare research, yet they comprise some of the most widely-kept captive species and as such, their lives within the zoo are worthy of closer investigation. Sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) are kept in numerous zoological collections globally yet current information on species-specific husbandry requirements and captive behaviour patterns appears limited. Many enclosures for ungulates can be uninspiring and generic; this study was designed to gain a better understanding of daily activity and enclosure use of a species that, in the wild, has a very particular habitat choice. Data were collect-ed at the former Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park, Chard, UK on eight sitatunga to determine overall daily activity patterns and usage of all available areas of their exhibit. Instantaneous scan sampling of the whole herd during three periods each day (morning, midday and afternoon) allowed for changes in behaviour patterns to be assessed over time. The enclosure encompassed both biologically-relevant (long grasses, reeds and shallow water) and less relevant (open, short-grassed) areas; these were zoned according to features considered useable to the sitatunga and that could influence behaviour and time spent within that zone. Zone usage was analysed using a modified Spread of Participation Index (SPI) which indicated a significant prefer-ence for biologically-relevant spaces. Significantly enhanced behavioural repertoires occurred in the “natural” zones of the enclosure and three behaviours (standing, sitting/ruminating and eating) showed significant differences in performance between natural and artificial zones, and between time of day. Captive sitatunga display a daily rhythm in their activity, however comparison with wild data in the literature shows only few similarities in daytime activity budget and analysis reveals a significant difference between daily feeding patterns. Overall, enclosure design based on facets of natural ecology is important for the expression of a “wild-type” behaviour pattern in captive ungulates and sitatunga will actively choose more biologically-relevant areas of their exhibit when these are available. It is suggested that alterations to husbandry regime and management style of such specialised ungulates could help improve captive behavioural repertoires and enhance the display of such animals in the zoo.
Reproductive biology of captive Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in Saudi Arabia.
Zoo Biology 15 (4): 371-381.
Reproductive data on captive Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) were collected from June 1986 through April 1992 at the National Wildlife Research Center (Taif, Saudi Arabia). Oryx females are polyestrous. The estrous cycle averaged 22 days and mean gestation length was 260 ± 5.5 days (S.D). Sex ratio at birth was unbiased and mean weight was 6.5 ± 0.7 kg (S.D.), with no difference between sexes. Under captive breeding conditions, births occurred throughout the year. Females gave birth to a single calf at any time during the day and produced 1.03 young per year. Abortion rate was 3.6%. Mortality rate of young was 6.1% before weaning at 3 months of age. The interbirth interval averaged 295 ± 42 days (S.D.), with 53% lasting between 270 and 279 days. Females reached sexual maturity at the age of 13 months.