Densities of mammals in partially protected areas: the Katavi ecosystem of western Tanzania.

Published online
17 Jul 1999
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Caro, T. M.

Publication language
Africa South of Sahara & Tanzania & Africa


Large and medium-sized mammal densities in 3 different sorts of partially protected area were compared with mammal densities in the adjacent Katavi National Park, western Tanzania, by driving 2953 km of strip transects over a 14-month period (1995-96). Katavi Park consists mainly of miombo woodland, dry forest characterized by Acacia, Combretum, Commifora [Commiphora], Grewia, Kigelia, Pterocarpus and Terminalia tree species, and 2 seasonally inundated floodplains. In a game controlled area that permitted temporary settlement, cattle grazing and tourist big game hunting, mammal diversity and mammal densities were relatively high, while in a forest reserve that permitted limited hardwood extraction and resident hunting, most large species were absent. In an open area that allowed settlement, cattle grazing, firewood collection and beekeeping activities, mammal diversity and densities were again low but some large ungulates still used the area seasonally. The chief factors responsible for lowered mammal densities outside the park were illegal hunting, especially in close proximity to the town, and to a lesser extent, resident hunting quotas that were too high. It is suggested that state-owned conservation areas permitting human activities within their borders cannot be relied upon as a means of conserving large and middle-sized mammals in Africa. Methods employed to ameliorate this problem in Africa are discussed.

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