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cpetzer
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Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby cpetzer » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:06 am

Hey all

Went to the lion and rhino park in July and saw something strange. They have black and blue wildebeest in the same park. These two can interbreed and lead to hybrids cant they? Is it not the same as blesbok and bontebok? I did not see them together but they were about 1 km from each other. Surely this is wrong,arent they just going to end up shooting the offspring of blue and black wildebeest? They seem to have impala and springbuck too (have heard that there is some disease that prevents this?). Why is there so many impala in Kruger but not one springbuck? Maybe i am wrong,what do you guys think?

KInd regards
Cliff

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wildtuinman
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:33 am

You are quite correct.

Black and Blue Wildebeest are fruitful cross breeders. Other species include:
Bontebok and Blesbok.
Wild cat and house cat.

Unfruitful cross breeders are:
Eland and Kudu.
Tsessebe and blesbok.
Rooihartbees and blesbok
Roan and Sable
Hartmann's Zebra and Donkey.

Possible cross breeders:
Cape Buffalo and Indian water buffalo.
Burchell's and mountain zebras.

It is advised not to keep these species together. Biologists believe that species which are geographically divided should never be allowed to roam freely on the same game farm.

Springbok never occurred in Kruger and thus won't be introduced there.

The habitat don't suit them and they are also not immune against Hartwater (heartwater) which might be the original reason why they were confined to the drier areas of South Africa to start off with.

Any species not belonging in a certain area will be severely infected with ticks. This is just nature's way to keep species out of non suitable habitats.

Adult Amblyomma hebraeum ticks, the principle vector of heartwater (cowdriosis) of domestic ruminants in southem Africa, were collected in pheromone traps placed in Kruger National Park, an exclusively wildlife sanctuary in South Africa. These ticks transmitted Cowdria ruminantium, the rickettsial agent causing heartwater, to a susceptible goat, resulting in acute, fatal disease.
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:15 pm

I don't know how big the rhino park is, but if the area is too small and an average species group number is not adhered to, then cross breeding would definitely be a problem.

Average group numbers for Blue wildebeest (as research have shown in KNP) is 13,7 animals. The average number of bulls in a bull group is 6,4 animals.

So if that is adhered to, it will significantly lower the chances of cross breeding.
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cpetzer
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby cpetzer » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:44 pm

Thanx for the excellent reply wildtuinman. i am not sure how big the lion and rhino park is,but its not bigger than 3000 hectares. Saw two herds of wildebeest [one black (about 15 members) and the other blue (about 35 members)]. Its very sad that people do this,its a nice little reserve (gemsbok,roan,sable etc) but the predators are caged up (which is quite depressing).

Kind regards
Clifford

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wildtuinman
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:37 pm

I see from their website that it covers about 1200ha.

a. I don't know what the forage capacity for wildebeest is, but for buffalo it is preferred at 10ha/unit.

b. Buffalo also must fulfill a 15% (with Kruger National Park as guideline) of the total biomass of the game farm. Wildebeest in the Serengeti in the last 30 years (similar conditions to the Highveld here in Gauteng) have gone down from 60% and now seems to cover a total biomass of as much as 45% with Buffalo increased to as much as 55%. I have no idea what the Wildebeest biomass percentage in Kruger is but let's take 30% for Wildebeest in this estimate.

c. Buffalo's big game turnover factor is 1,0.

d. Let's assume that the forage capacity (fc) for Wildebeest = 8ha and the turnover factor (tf) = 0,8.

Then the following calculation will tell us if 1200ha is enough.

forage capacity = 50 wildebeest x 0.8
total fc = 40.

area size = (total fc) x 8ha
= 40 x 8
= 320ha

Thus 30% of the total biomass = 320ha:

(100/30) x 320 = 1066,66ha.

So from this we can conclude that it does seem that the rhino park is big enough for healthy wildebeest populations.
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby DotDan » Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:48 pm

Image

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cpetzer
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby cpetzer » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:09 pm

Sounds great,maybe a bit technical for me but i understand what you mean. I think that they actually provide food for the animals (they feed them off the back of bakkies,similar to rietvlei where they feed the rhinos),there is also a herd of about 15-20 buffalo and maybe 10 white rhinos. My main concern is that there are no boundries between the different wildebeest!

KInd regards
Cliff

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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby Richprins » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:08 pm

wildtuinman wrote:You are quite correct.

Black and Blue Wildebeest are fruitful cross breeders.


Just to clarify what WTM means by "fruitful"...this means that the result of the original pairing is fertile and able to reproduce AGAIN!

A very rare occurence! :evil:

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wildtuinman
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:21 am

Cliff,

Inter and or cross breeding amongst game animals are not as common as amongst domestic species. Biologists believes that if species which are in danger of inter and or cross breeding are kept on the same farm with no fences dividing them, that chances of them interbreeding will be lessened if the two factors I've mentioned earlier are adhered to, namely adequate farm size and minimum group numbers.

The only animals which can under no circumstances be allowed to roam together are:

Blackfaced Impala and Impala.
Giant Sable and Sable.
West Africa's Roan and Southern Roan.
Northern White Rhino and Southern White Rhino.
Blesbok and Bontebok.
Ostriches of Southern and Northern Africa.
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cpetzer
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby cpetzer » Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:12 am

Hey

I never knew there was a distinction made between white rhino (north vs south). Thanx for the info,very interesting.

Kind Regards
Cliff

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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby Jeanus » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:15 pm

I am scrounging around in the recesses of my aging mind but I seem to remember that there are restrictions on your ability to sell and move animals if you have both blue and black wildebeest on the same reserve. This is to prevent any genetic pollution so to speak.

All species have a very specific courtship ritual to enable species recognition before mating so unless raised in captivity where some of the ritual may be lost or confused interbreeding is unlikely. That said however I also seem to remember that the two wildebeest species are more likely to cross that other closely related species of game. As I said this is just me trying to remember back 17 or 18 years to when I studied up on these things
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby Imberbe » Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:50 pm

You are absolutely correct Jeanus.

And the problem is that once interbreeding has taken place, it can become very difficult to distinguish between "pure" stock and "interbred" stock.

This has happened between the two species in the past. The result has been that some populations have had to be destroyed!

That is why legislation prevent owners from keeping these two species together!

The biggest threat is to the Black Wildebeest population, because they have by far the lower number of animals in their population.
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby SecretCode » Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:59 am

Regarding the area per animal, the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve (RLNR) is far from being wilderness - the animals are fed (grass/hay at least). So I doubt there's competition for grazing.

On the other hand, the limited number of feeding zones may make it more likely for the black and blue wildebeest to interact. Although I'm not sure if I've seen either at the feeding zones in the few times I've been there. (It's common to see large numbers of rhino, zebra, ostriches, warthogs and buck all at the feeding zones at the same time.)

I would say there's some cause for concern here!

Who manages the RLNR?
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:57 am

It would be very simplistic to look only at the size of a park to determine whether animals would interbreed. (I'm not accusing anybody!)

We all know that animals use chemical signals, indicating when a female is ready to mate, and that the males are attracted to that.

This is such a strong lure, that males of many species will fight for the opportunity to breed, even to the point of death in some cases. The mere presence in the same area, even if it might be huge, will inevitably lead to the opportunity for these two species to interbreed.

It was habitat preference that kept them apart in the past. Humans have bridged that, with inevitable consequence.
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Re: Blue and black wildebeest interbreeding?

Unread postby bishop3006 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:34 pm

Of course the issue of the black wildebeest being on the losing side of a cross-breeding situation is not merely the fact that they exist in far lower numbers. (I know this is in overall context in terms of lose a population and you lose a far larger percentage than when you lose a blue wildebeest population.)

But the reason why it is detrimental to the black wildebeest in the specific scenario is that black wildebeest are physically smaller than blue wildebeest thus, when the bulls get to fighting over the right to mate the blue wildebeest will invariably win.

One of the main reasons why they cross-breed so easily, with fertile offspring, is that the black wildebeest seperated from the blue wildebeest "very recently" - only something like 10,000 years ago. Thus they are still very close to one another, and not as far apart as some other species which also came off the same ancestor.
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