Seasonal body condition indices of mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula) in two areas of South African Highveld: the grassland

Author: W.A. Taylor, J.D. Skinner and R.C. Krecek
Year: 2005
Issue: 1
Volume: 35
Page: 19 - 29

Mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula) occupy marginal habitat that is rarely used by cattle. They are fecund, produce good quality meat and have the potential to be cropped commercially. Body condition indices including dressing % (DP), kidney fat indices (KFI), leg fat percentages (LFP) and leg muscle percentages (LMP) were investigated at two nature reserves in the Free State Province, South Africa, to examine seasonal and sexual differences and apply the findings to management decisions. Forty-one animals were shot at Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve (Sterkfontein) during eight separate operations over a two-year period. Forty-four animals were shot at Tussen die Riviere Nature Reserve (TdR) during three periods. All results reported are for adult animals. At Sterkfontein, DP was lower in spring compared to autumn, KFI were lower in spring than winter, and LFP were lower in spring than winter and autumn. At TdR, KFI in males were lower in summer than winter. Seasonal patterns of body condition were mainly related to seasonal weather patterns and changes in reproductive condition. For effective harvesting, mountain reedbuck should be cropped in autumn and winter. This would give any remaining animals a better chance of surviving the spring period before the rains when grazing conditions are at their worst.

Keywords: dressing percentage, harvesting, kidney fat index, leg fat, leg muscle, Mountain reedbuck, Redunca fulvorufula, reproductive condition, season
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