Dietary composition of wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) kongoni (Alcephalus buselaphus) and cattle (Bos indicus), grazing on a common ranch in south-central Kenya
Ego, W. K.
Mbuvi, D. M.
Kibet, P. F. K.
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This paper gives the results of a study conducted at Game Ranching Ltd, situated at the Athi Kapiti Plains, Kenya, to determine the dietary composition of cattle (Bos indicus L), kongoni (Alcephalus buselaphus Pallas) and wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus Burchell), through two forage growing seasons (wet and dry). The dietary preferences and overlaps between the species were also determined. The diet preference of the three herbivores was determined using a microhistological analysis technique. The three dominant grasses in the ranch: Themeda triandra Fork, Digitaria macroblephara (Hack.) Stapf and Penisetum mezianum Leeke, formed the major diets of the animals. The browse component of the diets increased during the dry season by about 100% for all the animal species, with cattle always having twice as much browse as the wild herbivores. However, the animals selected similar diets in terms of plant species during both seasons but were more selective during the wet season. Dietary overlaps were always above 75%, but more than this during the dry season. The dietary overlaps were lower between cattle and wild herbivores than between the wild herbivores. The diet preference index for the animals differed from season to season, and from plant to plant.