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Ecological Correlates of Population Abundance of a Pest Small Mammal Species (Mastomys natalensis) Inhabiting a Protected Area-Farmland Landscape in Western Serengeti, Tanzania

E.J. Rwebuga
L.S. Mulungu
A.A. Rija
S.N. Hassan


There is growing recognition of the negative impacts pest mammal species have on food security and the human health.  Strategies to reduce these impacts could benefit from results of association of population of the pests to ecological aspects. We assessed how environmental and habitat attributes were associated population abundance of Mastomys natelensis in a landscape interspaced with farmland and protected areas in Western Serengeti.  Rodents were trapped through Capture-Mark-Release method between April, 2020 and March, 2021 and estimated density of M. natalensis using the Minimum Number of Animals Known to be Alive (MNA) method. We found density to be significantly higher during dry season and in active farmlands; Both active farmlands and areas with sandy-clay-loam soils were strongly positively associated with higher abundance perhaps because of the increased species activity patterns during searching for food and favourable nesting soils thereby exposing the rodents to the traps. Also, the density tended to be significantly lower in areas with high plant species richness probably because M. natalensis is a pestrous species often in high abundance in areas cleared of vegetation for agricultural activities.  These results provide useful inputs towards control strategies to reduce impacts associated with these pests in the rural landscapes

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eISSN: 2408-8137
print ISSN: 2408-8129