Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Nutritional ecology of elephants in Kibale National Park, Uganda, and its relationship with crop-raiding behaviour

  • Karyn D. Rode (a1), Patrick I. Chiyo (a2), Colin A. Chapman (a1) (a3) and Lee R. McDowell (a4)
Abstract

This study investigated the nutritional ecology of forest elephants in Kibale National Park, Uganda relative to crop-raiding behaviour, and examined nutritional differences between crops and food consumed by wild elephants. An index of dietary nutrient concentration was determined by quantifying the species and parts of plants consumed along feeding trails, collecting food items, and analysing foods for energy, fibre, protein, minerals and secondary compounds. Frequency of crop raiding was quantified over 13 mo. Energy and protein concentration was within suggested levels, but concentrations of several minerals, particularly sodium, were low relative to requirements based on captive elephants and values reported for other wild populations. The very low sodium concentrations of Kibale elephant diets and low availability of alternative sodium sources, such as soil or water, suggest that sodium drive is very likely in this population. Crops consumed by Kibale elephants had higher Na concentrations and lower concentrations of fibre and secondary compounds than wild diets. The known attraction of elephants to mineral sources throughout their range and the low mineral concentration of leaves, fruits, bark, and stems consumed by forest elephant in this study suggest that mineral nutrition is likely to be an important factor driving elephant behaviour and patterns of habitat use.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author. Current address: Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA. Email: kdr25@cornell.edu
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 64 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 225 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.