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Prey selection and feeding habits of the large carnivores in the Southern Kalahari

M. G. L Mills

Koedoe; Supplement (1984), 281-294. doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v27i2.586

Submitted: 01 December 1984
Published:  01 December 1984


Prey selection and feeding habits of lions Panthera leo, spotted hyaenas Crocuta crocuta, cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus and leopards Panthera pardus are investigated. Lions kill mainly adult gemsbok Oryx gazella and blue wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus, tending to select older animals of both species and males in the case of gemsbok. Spotted hyaenas also prey mainly on gemsbok and wildebeest, but select for juveniles, particularly from gemsbok. Cheetahs prey heavily on springbok Antidorcas marsupialis lambs and then on adult males and older individuals. Leopards also prey relatively heavily on springbok, but appear to have a wider diet than cheetahs do. It is concluded that predators generally have a small impact on their prey populations in the southern Kalahari, although in the case of springbok they do appear to influence the structure of the population.

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Author affiliations

M. G. L Mills, National Parks Board of Trustees, South Africa



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