The Study of Diversity, Distribution, Relative Abundance and Habitat Association of Small Mammals in Apnp, North Gondar Zone, Anrs, N. Ethiopia.

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Addis Ababa University


Species composition and ecological studies of small mammals were carried out in Alatish Proposed National Park, Quara Woreda, North Gondar Zone, Amhara National Regional State from August 2004 to March 2005. The four habitat types were grouped under wooded grassland, woodland, riverine woodland and mixed bamboo woodland. Nine representative trapping grids were randomly selected from the four habitats for live trapping. In addition, three special trap sites were also incorporated. These trapping sites yielded 29 species of small mammals as a new record for the area. These comprised, 370 small mammals that included 23 rodent and 6 insectivore species. Of these, three rodent species (Murid sp.A Murid sp. B and Acomys sp. A) and a shrew (Soricid sp. A) await for further taxonomic work to be considered as a new species. The trapped rodent species were Arvicanthis dembeensis, Arvicanthis niloticus, Desmomys harringtoni, Mastomys natalensis, Mastomys erythroleucus, Myomys albipes, Acomys cahirinus, Acomys wilsoni, Acomys cineraceus, Mus musculus, Mus tenellus, Lemniscomys barbarus, Tatera robusta, Tatera valida, Tatera phillipsi, Euxerus erythropus, and the yet to be identified rodents, Murid sp. A, Murid sp. B and Acomys sp. A. The trapped insectivore species were Crocidura flavescent, Crocidura turba, Crocidura fumosa, Crocidura smithi, Atelerix albiventris and the yet to be identified shrew, Soricid sp. A. In addition to these, four rodent species Hystrix cristata, Paraxerus ochraceus, Heliosciurus gambianus and Xerus rutilus were also observed.The endemic rodent species of the Ethiopian higland forest (M. albipes and D. harringtoni) were recorded in APNP outside their former altitudinal limits and geographical ranges. Similary, the three highland diwelling shrews (C. flavescens, C. turba, and C. fumosa) were also recorded outside from their altitudinal limit and geographic range in the country. The occurrence of M. albipes and D. harringtoni from the Ethio-Sudan border trapping grids indicates the possibility of these species expanding their ranges to the neighbouring country.Variation in species number between seasons was insignificant. However the dry season trap success was significantly high. Differences in the diversity of species among habitats were highly significant (X23=19.5, P< 0.001). Wooded grassland habitats yielded more number of species than others. The number of species captured in different grids of each habitat showed great variation. Seasonal migration of small mammals among habitats was clearly observed. During the wet season, migration to the wooded grassland was common. These revert back to the other three habitats during the dry season. During the dry season forest fire, excessive grazing and lack of water and during the wet season flooding, humid and moist microhabitats were the major reasons for the seasonal movements. Breeding in most small mammalian species of APNP was seasonal and seemed to be associated with rainfall. 70% of the rodent species of APNP were important components of diets for the indigenous Gumuz people living surrounding the park area. 41% of the small mammals obtained in the APNP are pests. 31% of the total species move between villages and the park area. These were considered notorious pests. The high diversity of small mammals coupled with less number of settlers in the area should enhance the idea of proclaiming it as a conservation centre.