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Investigating whether body size affects the digestibility of antelopes.

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INVESTIGATING WHETHER BODY SIZE AFFECTS THE DIGESTIBILITY OF ANTELOPES Research Proposal #2 Wildlife Ecology 401 - Physiological Animal Ecology Bill Karasov By: Laura Gintz ([email protected]) Kimberly Ness ([email protected]) Introduction Greater kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) are found in southern and eastern Africa. They are one of the tallest antelopes, standing between 122 and 150 centimeters (cm.) tall. They are also one of the largest, with males weighing 190 to 315 kilograms (kg.) and females weighing 120 to 215 kg. Greater kudu have very large corkscrew horns, with males' 180 cm. in length and females' 110 to 140 cm. in length. The body color of the greater kudu varies from reddish brown to blue-gray, and the color of the males darkens with age. Along its back, the kudu has six to ten stripes, and its tail is black-tipped with a white underside. The males also possess a beard that females lack. Greater kudu are herbivores. They eat a wide variety of leaves, herbs, fruits, vines, flowers, and some new grass. They may drink water in the dry season, but they are capable of surviving in a waterless region (Estes, 1991). In southern Africa, greater kudus have been hunted for many years. The meat from the greater kudu is very good and the horns of the male kudu are a trophy for many African hunters (Kingdon, 1982). ...read more.


Animals will be weighed before and after each five-day collection. Mineral blocks will be provided, and food and water will be offered. Food will be weighed and fed to the greater and lesser kudu each morning of the trial. To ensure that the kudu ingest homogeneous diets, we will prepare the diets before feeding. Willow and poplar leaves will be stripped from the branches, apples with peels will be cored and cut into two cm. cubes, and acorns will be shelled. Alfalfa, fireweed, and smooth brome will be harvested to provide a diet of leaves and small stems, with no flowers or seed heads. Orts (scraps of food left after a meal is completed) will be collected, weighed and corrected for dry matter, and subtracted from the amount given the previous day to determine how much dry matter each animal ingests daily (DMI). Feces will fall onto mesh screens placed below the cages, and urine was will be funneled into bottles containing approximately five milliliters of 1 N Hydrochloric acid. We will dry samples of food, feces, and orts daily at 100 degrees Celsius for 24 hours to determine the dry matter content. Samples of food, feces, orts, and urine will be collected daily and stored at -20 degrees Celsius. At the end of a trial, each individual's orts, feces, and urine will be pooled across the five-day trial. ...read more.


1984. Official methods of analysis. 14th ed. Arlington: Association of Official Agricultural Chemists, Inc. Estes R. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. The University of California Press, Berkeley, California. Felicetti L.A., Shipley L.A., Witmer G.W., and C.T. Robbins. 2000. Digestibility, nitrogen excretion, and mean retention time by North American porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) consuming natural forages. Biochem Phys Zool 73:772-780. Goering H.K., and P.J. Van Soest. 1970. Forage analyses (apparatus, reagents, procedures and some applications). US Dept Agric Handbk 379:1-70. Harrison D., and P. Bates. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum Publications, Kent, England. Kingdon J. 1982. East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa, Volume III Part C (Bovids). Academic Press Ins., New York, New York. Nowak R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University, Balitimore, Maryland. Robbins C.T., Hanley T.A., Hagerman A.E., Hjeljord O., Baker D.L., Schwartz C.C., and W.W. Mautz. 1987a. Role of tannins in defending plants against ruminants: Reduction in protein availability. Ecol 68:98-107. Robbins C.T., Mole S., Hagerman A.E., and T.A. Hanley. 1987b. Role of tannins in defending plants against ruminants: Reduction in dry matter digestion? Ecol 68:1606-1615. Roosevelt T., and E. Heller. 1914. Life-Histories of African Game Animals. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, New York. Shipley L.A., and L. Felicetti. 2002. Fiber digestibility and nitrogen requirements of blue duikers (Cephalophus monticola). Zoo Biol 21:123-134. Walther F. 1990. Spiral-horned antelopes. Pp. 344-359 in S. Parker, ed., Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New York, NewYork. ...read more.

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