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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:15 pm 
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Does indeed sound plausible DrPhil, that would certainly correlate with Botswana as the overpopulation of elephants there is well known. Would love to hear from someone in the profession


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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:50 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Amanzimtoti, KZN, RSA.
Glad to see this subject is getting lively - looks like we all will benefit from
the various contributions.

Now, back to old Gnu himself - I have noticed a very visible thickening of the bush in the southern and central parts of KNP since 2009 [ I am using this as a reference since I have photos from then and compared to my 2011 photos there are masses of young shrubs/trees where previously there was only grass veldt.]

I did not visit the northern regions for quite a few years and cannot comment on it.

Now, grass eaters [ grazers ] don’t all eat the same parts of grass tufts in a given block of grass land. Animals like zebra, waterbuck, buffalo & white rhino specialize on the long upright grass stems bearing grass seeds. Animals like all the hartebeest family, gazelles [springbuck locally] and our two species of gnu are what is sometimes called “close feeders” – they specialize in eating the short, soft, fragile grass blades at the bottom of a tuft of grass.

Close feeders therefore are at somewhat of a disadvantage in virgin veldt during summer when the hard seed bearing grass stems stand waist high [ sometimes shoulder high ] and they therefore suffer some feeding stress until the tall grass stems are removed and then they come into their element, but now the hard grass [ tussock ] feeders start to suffer.

Now, the increase in shrubs and trees indicate increased rainfall. If this is true, then grass will also grow more prolific and close feeders will remain under elongated feeding stress – this in turn could mean localized reductions in numbers as the close feeders move to more favorable areas.

Any of the thread participants with insight of monthly rainfall figures for the various regions of KNP – say rainfall figures over the past 5 years ?


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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:12 pm 
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That sounds like a coherent theory 100pounder :thumbs_up:

Although this year is very dry compared to last year. That is all I can contribute regarding rainfall :? Don't know how 2011 compares to a few years back :hmz:

There have been a few comparisons on the trip reports, comparing shots at Nkulu lookout from the same time in 2010 to 2011, and the bush was much more lush and green in 2010!

Although your theory is a start :D

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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:00 am 
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Here is an extract from Twiggas TR!:


Day 3 - Continues........
From Tshokwane we decided to go have a look at Nkumbe. What a shock!
December 2011

Image
Nkumbe 2011 by twigga2011, on Flickr

December 2010 – This photo was taken exactly a year ago……

Image
Nkumbe 2010 by twigga2011, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:33 am 
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cheetah2111,

Without food the wildebeest will not breed. Animals have a sixth sense regarding the coming season, rain etc.

Those pictures tells a great story. It is also well known that predators thrive in droughts when all the herbivores have to drink at central watering holes. Of course the drought should not be to long. It is a great way of nature to filter out the weak and sick animals.

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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:06 pm 
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Zebras and wildebeests prefer the same type of grass, but eat different parts of the plant, which means they coexist well together. Zebras also have superior vision and hearing, which wildebeests benefit from. Young wildebeests often watch zebras for signs of alarm.

Also something :think: I read somewhere quite some time ago .The Wildebeest and Zebra have the strongest Immune system of all grazing mammals .The reason why they are also sticking together is that if there is a virus or degrease in the area the will carry it and get rid of it with there strong immune :big_eyes: :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:59 pm 
DrPhil wrote:
Without food the wildebeest will not breed. Animals have a sixth sense regarding the coming season, rain etc.


Sorry but I do not agree with this statement.

If you take the mating season and gestation period into account they must know what is going to happen nearly a year in advance. :hmz:

Don't think so!!


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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:28 am 
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Joao, I have seen it countless times that during dry years there are far less young animals than when food and water is plentiful. Sometimes when the rain starts late in the year the animals only give birth a bit later. I am not an expert just what I have seen in the past. :hmz:

I can't explain it but it does happen. Ether the animals know it or the Man up stairs that control everything does it....

I haven't been in the park this summer, maybe someone there can shed some light on the number of young compared to years where the rains came early?

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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:36 am 
Yes that may be but then one must not forget that during dry times the predation is higher because of weaker animals.

Weaker animals during the mating season can also lead to lower birth rates but that is not due to a coming drought but an existing drought.


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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:09 pm 
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100ponder wrote:
Any of the thread participants with insight of monthly rainfall figures for the various regions of KNP – say rainfall figures over the past 5 years ?
Google is your friend. Try searching for "SCIENTIFIC SERVICES, KRUGER NATIONAL PARK RAINFALL SUMMARY"

Johan


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 Post subject: Re: Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:32 pm 
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johanrebel wrote:
ndloti wrote:
http://www.sanparks.org/conservation/scientific/weather/default.php
Would be nice if they updated it a bit more often, which surely shouldn't be that difficult?

The most recent data is almost a year old!

Johan

Hi Johan,

This has been updated, we have been waiting for the data and have decided on an update process to ensure that it is kept up to date.

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 Post subject: Re: Antelope: Blue Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:48 pm 
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Did You Know? :hmz:
The life expectancy of a Blue Wildebeest is approximately 15 years.

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 Post subject: Re: Antelope: Blue Wildebeest
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:52 pm 
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Did You Know? :hmz:
A Blue Wildebeest can hear the sound of thunder up to 25 km away.

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"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


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