This study aims to understand status and population structures of Swaynes’ Hartebeest (SHB) (Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei) meta-population under land cover changes in Maze National Park (MaZNP), Nech Sar National Park (NNP) and Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary (SHBS) from 2008 to 2009. A total, with direct count method based on silent detection of vehicles along roads was used to count SHB in the Protected Areas (PAs) within 5 blocks of the entire SHBS. In each of the lager MaZNP and NNP, 6 blocks were randomly sampled following habitat types such as grasslands. One wildlife expert, six scouts and one researcher were assigned to each of the block for counting the Hartebeest during early morning and late in the afternoon. A SPSS, Excel software and Landsat satellite imagery of the PAs was used for the SHB populations and land cover data analysis. Of the 840 SHB individuals recorded in these PAs, 364 occurred in MaZNP, 464 in SHBS and 12 individuals in NNP. The adult male SHB was 47% (MaZNP), 39% (SHBS) and 42% in NNP. The relationship between the adult males and adult females is highly significant for the MaZNP (2t=0.969, P<0.01). The study revealed that SHB population size is increasing in MaZNP and SHBS. However, there is dramatic decrease in the NNP. Since 1970s, the species population size has fluctuated from 865 to 480 to 840 in the PAs. This might be associated to decreases in grasslands such as from 75 to 48%in the MaZNP and 37 to 34% in the NNP during 1986 to 2005. Conservation measures that increase the population size of this endangered species is urgently needed to conserve the endemic species in Ethiopia.
Key words: Population size, Protected Areas, Status, Swayne’s Hartebeest.
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