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An outline of the ecology and behaviour of the red lechwe (Kobus leche leche Gray, 1850)

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In a number of publications serious concern has been expressed about 'the status of lechwe in the Kwando/Linyanti/Chobe system. Concern has also been expressed about the effects of possible water extraction from the Okavango Delta on the habitat of lechwe in the delta. This study was motivated by this concern and was undertaken to provide information that would facilitate the conservation and management of lechwe in Botswana. Continuous field work on the western edge of the Linyanti Swamp began in January 1975 and ended in May 1977. Follow-up visits were made in February/March and September/October 1979. Data were collected on the following: variation in water l6vels, physiognomic and floristic characteristics of lechwe habitat, age determination, food habits, habitat use, distribution,condition growth, reproduction, non-social behaviour, social behaviour and organjsation and population status. From data collected it was concluded that, although there was no indication of a drastic population decline, the prevailing high water levels in the system were causing a downward trend in the population by pushing the animals into poorer quality habitat. The decline in the quality of the habitat available to the population was reflected by high juvenile mortality and reduced fecundity of young females. On the basis of the findings of this study a strategy for the conservation and management of lechwe in the Linyanti Swamp is proposed.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1980.


Bovidae., Antelopes., Theses--Zoology.