Prey selection by African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in southern Zimbabwe

A. Pole, I. J. Gordon, Martyn Lee Gorman

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    Abstract

    This study was an investigation of the diet and of prey selection by a population of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus in the Save Valley Conservancy (SVC) in the south-east lowveld of Zimbabwe. The diet of the dogs, based on the number of kills for each species located, consisted almost entirely of impala Aepyceras melampus (74%) and kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros (22%), the two most abundant medium-sized antelope in the area. The level of selection for different prey classes killed by the wild dogs was investigated and it was found that the wild dogs: (1) exhibited strong selection for a number of prey classes on a seasonal basis; (2) selected kudu throughout the year but showed little selection between the other prey species; (3) selected the young of both impala and kudu and selected males at times of the rut. Bone marrow analysis showed that prey killed by the wild dogs on SVC were in poorer condition than unselectively culled individuals suggesting the selection of the weaker individuals in the prey populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-215
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Zoology
    Volume262
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    Keywords

    • KRUGER-NATIONAL-PARK
    • PREDATORS
    • PREFERENCE
    • BEHAVIOR
    • CHEETAHS
    • GAZELLES
    • HYAENAS
    • IMPALA
    • DIET
    • FOOD

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