Monday, April 21, 2008

Bushbuck Conservation in Africa

I came across this article that was quite relevant to our last lecture. The paper describes the conservation of unique habitats in order to protect the most genetically distinct populations of this species. Here is the original paper, and here is a description of it in Science Daily.

This photo displays some of the phenotypic diversity within this species, Tragelaphus scriptus. One of the authors of the paper described above, Dr. Moodley, writes:

Tragelaphus scriptus is a phenotypically variable pan-African complex, collectively known as bushbuck. The smallest of the spiral-horned antelopes, the bushbuck is the most widely distributed ungulate on the African continent; occurring from as far west as southern Mauritania and Senegal, east across the Sahel to Ethiopia and Somalia and south in all countries to South Africa. Bushbuck are singularly unusual in their ubiquity.

Throughout their extensive distributional range, they inhabit, and appear to be adapted, to a wide variety of ecotypes including rainforest, wooded savanna, semi-arid to arid savanna, sub-desert, fynbos and montane forest. Bushbuck are dependent only on the cover offered by forests, dense bush and thickets (Dorst and Dandelot, 1970). They are usually found in the vicinity of permanent water but are able to subsist on dew in waterless areas (Kingdon 1997).

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