DIURNAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS AND TIME BUDGET OF GRANT’S GAZELLE (NANGER GRANTI) IN NECHISAR NATIONAL PARK, ETHIOPIA
Information on behavior patterns of animals is important to plan wildlife management programs in conservation areas. The Grant’s gazelle (Nanger granti) is one of the major larger mammals in the plains of Nechisar National Park. As behavior patterns of this species were not studied earlier, the present investigation was aimed to study the diurnal activity patterns and time budget of its major activities. Observations on activity patterns were carried out on randomly selected herds during day time and recorded for units of five minutes at intervals of 10 minutes. Major activities such as feeding, movement (walking and running), resting and social behaviors of herds consisting of adult male, adult female, juvenile and young were recorded during 2304 unit observations. The percentage of feeding, movement, resting and social behaviors in which they were engaged during the study period was 43.7, 24.2, 23 and 8.2, respectively. There was variation in the percentage of activities of gazelles during morning, noon and in the afternoon. There was a significant difference in the percentage of different activities among individuals (p<0.05). The overall diurnal activities of gazelles showed a bimodal pattern of intensive foraging in the morning and afternoon hours. There was no marked seasonal variation in their activity levels. This might be related to the drought tolerant behavioral adaptation of the Grant’s gazelle.