Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2746

Full Length Research Paper

Nutritional status of forage plants and their use by elephant in Waza national park, Cameroon

Désiré Foguekem1,2*, Martin Ngankam Tchamba1, Legrand Nono Gonwouo2, Pierre Ngassam2 and Mike Loomis3
1WWF Cameroon Program Office, P. O. Box 6776, Yaoundé, Cameroon. 2Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of science, University of Yaounde 1, P. O. Box 812 Yaoundé, Cameroon. 3North Carolina Zoological Park, 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, North Carolina, USA.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 May 2011
  •  Published: 26 August 2011

Abstract

We studied the utilization pattern of wild plant species by elephants in relation to their nutritive values in order to provide insight into crop raiding events by the animal in the Waza region. Elephants were selective for food plants in the wilderness. Out of 45 recorded plant species, only 20 plant species were found to be utilized either fully or partially as evident by branch breaking, debarking, and uprooting. Among the plants consumed by the elephants, Acacia seyal was the most utilized (34.4% n = 212) followed by Piliostigma reticulatum (22.5% n = 128). The barks of Mitragymna innermis (11% n = 45) and Anogeisus leiocarpus (8% n = 41) were moderately utilized. All other recorded plants were utilized below 5%. Crude protein content in utilized plants varied from 2.97 (Lannea humilis) to 12.76% (Capparis tomentosa). NDF content ranged from 41.58 (Feretia.apodanthera) to 7.93% (Acacia ataxacantha). ADF content ranged from 32.26 (F. apodanthera) to 56.27% (Ziziphus mauritiana). In vitro digestibility also varied among the utilized plants. Elephants foraged more on nutritionally rich plants, and because of the generally poor nutritional value of natural fodder, the elephants in Waza National Park frequently break out to feed on nutritive richer agricultural crops.

 

Key words: Elephants, nutritional value, utilized, plants.