015031 Satish Kumar;Rahmani A R (Wildlie Sciences Dep, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh-202 002, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) : Predation by wolves (Canis lupus pallipes) on blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) in the great Indian Bustard sanctuary, Nannaj, Maharashtra, India. Int J Ecol envir Sci 2008, 34(2), 99-112.
Some aspects of predation on blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) by wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) were studied in the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary from 1991 to 1994. For each kill, data were collected on (a) sex and age, (b) habitat around kill sites, (c) biomass left unconsumed by wolves, (d) distance of kills from the den(s), Sanctuary boundary and the nearest thick vegetation cover. The wolves largely preyed on old and injured blackbuck and had a strong selection for males (U=42, P=0.01, Mann-Whitney U test). On an average, wolves made a kill every 3.65 days during winter (S.E.=0.58, n= 19) and 2.1 days (S.E.=0.7, n=l0) during summer. The consumption rate was found to be 1 kg/wolf/day and it was not correlated with the pack size (r,=0. 16, P=0.07). The wolves depended largely on blackbuck for food requirement during their non-breeding period and on livestock during denning or breeding period. The maximum number of kills were located within 4 m of distance from vegetative cover (34%, n=26). The distribution of kills differed significantly between habitats and the maximum number of kills were found in grasslands (37%), followed by scrubland (23%), plantations (21 %) and grazing land (19%). The wolves killed blackbuck irrespective of the location of dens (D=0.246, P=0.462, Two-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test). Only two instances of food caching by wolves were recorded during the study period. Blackbuck used predator avoidance strategies such as encirclement of herds by large males with longest horns to threaten wolves, ground stumping, flashing tail while running, galloping as high as possible, blowing out air from the nostrils briskly and producing a grunting sound to alarm the remaining individuals of the group. On an average, predation by wolves removed 4% of the total biomass of blackbuck available to them in the Sanctuary and 3.5% when 10% of the biomass of kills was assumed to remain unutilised by them. They consumed 25 to 30 individuals of blackbuck annually in the Sanctuary.
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