The Tree Hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus): Feeding Behaviour, Activity Patterns and Traditional Medicinal Use in Kafa Zone, Southwest Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Feeding behaviour, activity pattern and traditional medicinal use of the tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus) were investigated by direct observations and by questionnaire interview method between July – December 2015 in the Kafa Zone, Southwest Ethiopia. Transect method was used to observe feeding behavior and activity patterns and questionnaire interview was used to determine traditional medicinal use of tree hyrax. Tree hyrax shelters and trees with cavities were located. Activities of hyraxes were observed in the morning, midday and afternoon hours. Tree hyraxes showed a bimodal pattern of activity. Feeding was the dominant activity, which occupied 44.98% of day time activity time ( 2 = 33.13, d.f. = 9, P < 0.001). The most important dietary plant species of tree hyrax was Ipomoea tenuirostris (Yimbiroo, in the local language of kafegna). Travelling within and between trees occupied 39.68% of the daily time activity. There was difference in the activity levels in the morning, midday and afternoon hours ( 2 = 9.4, d.f. = 2, P < 0.001) of the day. There was no difference in their calling behaviour in relation to season in the study area. The stomach of the tree hyrax is important for local people in traditional medicinal use for cure of deep coughing and for fast growth of children. The local people prepare traditional medicine by drying and powdering stomach parts of tree hyrax and administered orally. The ecological strategy of tree hyrax in terms of slow food intake rate and energy conservation is discussed. Key words: Activity patterns, D. arboreus, Feeding behaviour, Kafa Zone, Medicinal value



Activity patterns, D. arboreus, Feeding behaviour, Kafa Zone, Medicinal value