Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Western tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax dorsalis) in a changing landscape (#621)

James K Omifolaji 1 , Mala B Modu 2 , Stella T Babalola 3 , Opeyemi B Ojo 4
  1. Federal University Dutse, Dutse, Jigawa, Nigeria
  2. Forestry and Wildlife , University Of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Borno, Nigeria
  3. Biology, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria
  4. Wildlife and Ecotourism, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria

Understanding the influence of land use pressure on western tree hyrax populations is crucial to achieving sustainability and assists planning for the protection and conservation of arboreal mammals. Line transect surveys were used in different land use types to estimate density, distribution and response to land use. The study revealed higher distribution in primary forest and secondary forest while the species density decreased in the other areas with increase in human activities. The survey indicated that the density of hyrax across different land use patterns ranged from 6.25 km-2 in their core zone, 4.68 km-2 in the buffer zone, 2.063 km-2 in farm-fallow, to none in the plantation zone. The density in the core zone area was significantly related to land use pattern using one-way ANOVA z-test: x2=4.12, p = 0.022; core vs buffer p=0.046; core vs farm-fallow p=0.065; buffer vs core different from other three areas, which were not significantly different from each other (p=0.169). Relative density was significantly higher in closed canopy forest than secondary forest and farm-fallow (z-test: core: t53=15.401 p=0.001; buffer: t49=9.334 p=0.001; farm-fallow: t17=4.109 p=0.001). As no hyraxes were heard calling in plantations, density was not estimated. The observed differences between land use patterns are due to anthropogenic activities and changes in forest tree structure and canopy covers due to fragmentation. The results clearly revealed that the species largely depend on primary forest for survival and navigation. Thus, we call for urgent conservation concern that needs management action especially in the tropics to address habitat loss.