Original Research

Distributional patterns and conservation status of mammals of Swaziland, southern Africa

A. Monadjem
Koedoe | Vol 41, No 2 | a252 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v41i2.252 | © 1998 A. Monadjem | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 1998 | Published: 01 August 1998

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A. Monadjem, University of Swaziland, South Africa

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Distributional patterns (mapped at the quarter-degree square scale) of species richness of 121 species of mammals recorded from Swaziland were examined in relation to the distribution of protected areas (reserves), privately-owned ranches and six vegetation types. The richness of mammal species was highest in the NE and NW, and lowest in the SW areas of Swaziland. Total mammal species richness was positively and highly significantly correlated with the presence of reserves. Similar patterns were shown by artiodactyls, rodents and carnivores. Total mammal species richness, as well as for most mammalian orders, was positively correlated with moist grassveld and moist savanna vegetation types but negatively correlated with dry grassveld. Mammal species richness, especially for the larger species, was very low on Swazi Nation Land, which covers about 60 of the country. The mammalian fauna of the high-lying areas (Highveld) was distinct from that of the low-lying areas (Lowveld). The Middleveld region supported elements of both Highveld and Lowveld species. A large proportion (87.6 ) of Swaziland's mammal species have been recorded from reserves. Two species {Alcelaphus lichtensteini and Lycaon pictus) no longer occur in Swaziland. For effective conservation of Swaziland's mammals, the issue of how to maintain viable populations on Swazi Nation Land will have to be addressed.


Swaziland, mammals, distribution, conservation.


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