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Giraffe Forging Ecology in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem

Mantana Levi

Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology

Giraffe are an iconic species inhabiting naturally heterogeneous ecosystems that are in continuous dynamic flux between woodlands and open grasslands. African rangelands have been strongly altered due to the spread of woody plants on savanna landscapes, particularly in Eastern Africa, where the grazing pressure of livestock and wildlife is high. Despite a general increase in woody vegetation across the savanna rangeland systems in Tanzania, giraffe numbers have declined in recent decades. The goal of our study is to investigate whether the spread of woody plants might benefit giraffe feeding ecology by providing preferred forage, or adversely affect feeding ecology if the expanding woody vegetation is not selected by giraffes. The proposed study will provide information about the current availability and utilization of primary woody plant browse species and how it hinders or facilitates quality and quantity of foraging grounds of giraffes in Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem, Tanzania.

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