Population Status and Trend of Water Dependent Grazers (Buffalo and Waterbuck) in the Kenya-Tanzania Borderland


Even though over many years the IUCN has considered the African buffalo and waterbuck and abundant species in Africa with no conservation concern, the situation is rapidly changing. Using aerial counts in wet and dry season in 2010 and 2013, this study assessed the trend, population status and distribution of the African buffalo and common waterbuck in the Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya borderland. Both species were rare in the borderland, with the Amboseli region had the highest number of buffalo (241.5 ± 29.9), followed by Magadi/Namanga (58.0 ± 22.0), West Kilimanjaro (38.8 ± 34.9), and lastly Lake Natron (14.5 ± 9.0) areas. In terms of density, Amboseli also led with 0.03 ± 0.00 (buffalo per km2), but rest had similar densities of 0.01 ± 0.00 buffalo per km2. In terms of percent changes in buffalo, Amboseli area had a positive increase (+10.59 ± 27.71), but with a negative growth of -17.12 in the dry season. All other changes in all locations had negative (decline) buffalo numbers over time. For waterbuck numbers, Amboseli area also led with 12.3 ± 3.9 waterbuck), followed by Magadi/Namanga (10.3 ± 3.7.0), Lake Natron (3.8 ± 3.4), and lastly West Kilimanjaro (0.5 ± 0.5) areas. In terms of waterbuck density, they were low and less than 0.00 ± 0.00 per km2. For percent changes in waterbuck numbers, Magadi/Namanga had higher positive change (+458.33 ± 291.67), but all other locations had negative (decline) changes with the worst being West Kilimanjaro and Lake Natron areas. Further, buffalo number was dependent (p = 0.008) on the season, with numbers being higher in the wet season than dry season. For waterbuck, numbers were independent (p = 0.72) of the season, with numbers being similar across seasons. The findings of this study showed that both species were negatively affected by drought. We recommend a constant joint monitoring program between Kenya and Tanzania, and jointly combat poaching, habitat fragmentation and encroachment to build viable populations in the borderland.

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Okello, M. , Kenana, L. , Maliti, H. , Kiringe, J. , Kanga, E. , Warinwa, F. , Bakari, S. , Gichohi, N. , Ndambuki, S. , Kija, H. , Sitati, N. , Kimutai, D. , Mwita, M. , Muteti, D. and Muruthi, P. (2015) Population Status and Trend of Water Dependent Grazers (Buffalo and Waterbuck) in the Kenya-Tanzania Borderland. Natural Resources, 6, 91-114. doi: 10.4236/nr.2015.62009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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