Behavioral and ecological study of wild mammals in woodland, Ugalla, Tanzania
Report: Eriko Iida
Date: 2012/8/6 - 2012/10/15
The miombo forest in Western Tanzania is located in
a region in which the main vegetation changes from the tropical rainforest
to the acacia savanna. In the miombo forest, there are various plants and
animals that originating both in the forest and the savanna (Kano, 1971;
Moore, 1994). In recent years, however, miombo forests in Eeastern Africa
has been reduced by human activities such as slash-and-burn farming and
deforestation (Abbot & Homewood, 1999). Since the Ugalla area is the
eastern limit for the distribution of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the
African Continent, a large number of primatological and anthropological
studies have been performed in the region since the 1960s. However, fewer
ecological and behavioral studies of other mammals than chimpanzees have
been conducted in this area. It is also important to have better
understanding of ecology and behaviors of other sympatric mammals which
are less known compared to those of chimpanzees. In this study, I aimed to
collect basic data on mammalian fauna at Ugalla, Western Tanzania,
especially focusing on bush hyraxes (Heterohyrax brucei).
The study was conducted in the Ugalla Forest
Reserve, Tanzania, from August to October 2012 (late dry season).
First, in order to grasp the diurnal and nocturnal mammalian fauna
and their densities, I carried out a line transect census of feces once a
week, opportunistic direct observations of larger mammals, and set up
camera traps. As a result, at least 4 species was confirmed which were
recorded for the first time in this area.
Second, in order to obtain basic behavioral and ecological date of
bush hyraxes, I collected their night activity patterns by radio-tracking.
I made intensive survey of their burrows and their communal
"latrines" and collected their fecal samples. The locations of
the sightings were recorded using a GPS. A detailed survey was made of the
plant species composition around each rocky outcrop. I set also up
automatic camera traps in front of their burrows. It was found that they
move mainly in the night although they have been referred to as diurnal
mammals. It is also confirmed that they used the same caves used by other
From now on, I will continue analyzing the data more in detail.
Bush hyrax in Ugalla, Tanzania
Nighttime activity of bush hyraxes.
Bush hyrax and dwarf mongooses shared the same den site.