Ecological Study of Salt’s Dik-Dik (Madoqua Saltiana Blainville, 1816) in Awash National Park, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


An ecological study of Salt’s dik-dik was conducted during July 2017-August 2019. The study was aimed investigating the population size, habitat association, diurnal time budget and diet composition of the animal. In addition, conservation challenges and opportunities rooting from the local community in ANP was investigated. For the study of population size and habitat association, eight sampling sites were identified and, line transect distance sampling method was employed. Behavioral activity budget was assessed using focal scan sampling method. Similarly, diet composition was studied using feeding duration record coupled with feeding quadrat survey in order to assess accessibility and availability of forage species. Purposive sampling method was used to assess conservation challenges and opportunities rooting from the local community of the Park. Population size of the animal was 555 (range: 495–615) during the wet and 726 (range: 658–794) during the dry season over the surveyed region. Seasonal impact was remarkable on population size (χ2=12.8, df =1, P=0.001). Mean population density was 28.4/km2 during the wet season and 37.3/km2 during the dry season. It significantly varied between seasons (F1, 159 = 5.95, P=0.048). Population size significantly varied across the study sites both during the wet (F2, 96= 7.9, P=0.043) and dry seasons (F2, 96= 4.12, P=0.012). The animal was occurred in four habitat types; thickets (38.6%), bushlands (25.3%), open bushlands (19.94%) and shrub grasslands (16.1%). Variation in habitat preference was noticed during the wet (χ2 =27.3, df = 3, P=0.001) and dry seasons (χ2 =25.1, df = 3, P=0.005). Seasonal impact was observed on herd sizes (F1, 230 = 30.6, P=0.019) and encounter rates (F1, 158 = 9.6, P=0.023). Three distinct herd sizes were identified with percentage frequency of occurrence: solitary dik-diks (62.6% and 33.8%), a family of two dik-diks (32.7% and 41.1%) and mate pair with young (25% and 4.7%) during the wet and dry seasons, respectively. Population categories showed significantly high adult males during the wet season (χ2 =29.4, df= 4, P=0.0001). Contrary to this, it was insignificantly varied to adult females during the dry season. Similar activity budgets were recognized across seasons and sexes. The highest activity budget was recorded for feeding (34.1%) followed by resting (25.7%) and rumination (21.9%). Twenty forage plant species were identified, with higher percentage contributions of Acacia senegal (41.27%), A. millifera (20.5%) and Balanites aegyptiaca (12.67%). Variations of dietary contribution across seasons were found for A. millifera and B. aegyptiaca. Conservation challenges of ANP, arising from the local community outweighs the opportunities due to critical dependence and exploitation of the Park resources. Therefore, enforcement of wildlife conservation laws, scaling up and supervision of community awareness programs, designing alternative ways for livestock production which avoids dependence on the resources of the Park, and provision of alternative economic opportunities are indispensable.



Activity Budget, Awash National Park, Conservation Threats, Dietary Composition, Salt‟S Dik-Dik, Territoriality