The ecological potential of the kudu for commercial production in savanna regions.

  • N Owen-Smith
Keywords: animal production, browsing, bush encroachment, cattle, Commercial production, density, Ecological potential, ecology, Food availability, Kudu, Mixed species ranching enterprises, population density, population dynamics, savanna, survival, survival rate,


This paper considers the choice of a browsing ungulate to supplement cattle in savanna regions susceptible to problems of bush encroachment, and evaluates the kudu in particular. Relevant aspects of its ecology considered include (i) the vegetation components utilised at different seasons and in different areas, with regard to principal food species, reserve dry season species, rejected plant species and potential food limitations; (ii) social grouping patterns and home range extent; (iii) population densities, reproductive parameters, survival rates and population dynamics in relation to rainfall; (iv) impact on the vegetation of browsing and branch breakage. Features of the kudu are compared with those of other browsing ungulates, including giraffe, eland, impala and goats. It is concluded that the kudu is a prime candidate for inclusion alongside cattle in mixed species ranching enterprises in most regions of savanna vegetation.

Keywords: animal production; browsing; bush encroachment; cattle; Commercial production; density; Ecological potential; ecology; Food availability; Kudu; Mixed species ranching enterprises; population density; population dynamics; savanna; survival; survival rate; tragelaphus strepsiceros; ungulates; Vegetation; wildlife

Journal of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119