Feeding ecology energetics of two sympatric jackal species in the Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
It is energetically costly for a carnivore to travel long distances or spend a lot of time searching for food without securing enough nutrition for survival and reproduction. Feeding ecology energetics of two sympatric jackal species (golden jackal, Canisaureus and silver-backed jackal, Canismesomelas) was studied by both direct observation of focal animals and indirectly by scat analysis of known individuals. The research was done in the Ngorongoro crater between July 2014 and May 2015, a period that covered both dry and wet seasons. The results revealed that diets of both jackal species were broadly similar in the dry season and included carrion, insects, rodents and plant material while in the wet season the two species also consumed Thomson’s gazelle fawns. Furthermore, the golden jackal also fed on wildebeest placental and hunted for Abdim’s stork during the wet season. This seasonal variation in diets reflects seasonal availability of food items in jackal’s home ranges confirming the opportunistic feeding habit of the two jackal species. There was no significant difference in distance travelled per unit time of foraging between the two species in the dry season and in wet season. However, in the wet season, golden jackals secured significantly higher amount of food (per distance and time of foraging) than the silver-backed jackals (Mann- Whitney U test, p<0.05, U=1035.4, n1=35, n2=44). Effecicient foraging is very important especially in breeding seasons as more food is needed for survival of pups. It is recommended that future studies be conducted outside the crater within Ngorongoro Conservation Area where the jackals are also known to occur. NCAA should consider allowing the night data collection in future studies to enable both day and night sampling of the jackals in order to have better information on the sympatric jackals at night since the animals are known to be active at night too. Key words: Canisaureus, Canismesomelas, efficient foraging, Ngorongoro crater, opportunistic feeding, sympatric
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QL737.C22T34 T45 )
Canis aureus, Canis mesomelas, Opportunistc feeding, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Temu, S.E. (2016) Feeding ecology energetics of two sympatric jackal species in the Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam