Original Research

Habitat utilisation by Cape mountain zebras in the Mountain Zebra National Park, South Africa

A. Winkler, N. Owen-Smith
Koedoe | Vol 38, No 1 | a308 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v38i1.308 | © 1995 A. Winkler, N. Owen-Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 August 1995 | Published: 25 August 1995

About the author(s)

A. Winkler, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
N. Owen-Smith, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Abstract

This study investigated the seasonal patterns of vegetation community use by the Cape mountain zebra within the Mountain Zebra National Park over one seasonal cycle. Day-time censuses revealed that the zebras utilised all the different vegetation commu- nities that were defined in the park, with the exception of the riparian bush community. Year-round the zebras made greatest use of the grassland vegetation communities, together with those shrubland and dwarf shrubland communities that offered high grass biomasses. Selectivity for vegetation communities was greatest during the wet season, when the zebras favoured those grassland communities on the plateaus over other vegetation communities on the mountain slopes and in the ravines. During the dry season the zebras showed a greater diversity in their use of vegetation communities, and made greater use of those vegetation communities on the mountain slopes and in the ravines. The results suggest that the seasonal variations in vegetation community use by the zebras were in response to changes in the annual rainfall pattern.

Keywords

Cape mountain zebra, vegetation community use, selectivity, diversity, nonruminant grazers, nutritional value, grass biomass

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