Study of bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) in Mole National Park, Ghana
Master of Science
DisciplineForestry and the Forest Environment
SubjectBushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus)
Feeding, resting and bedding sites
Activity and movement pattern
MetadataShow full item record
The bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), one of the ungulates occurring in Ghana, has not been the subject of extensive study. For the species and its habitat to be managed effectively to meet the needs of the people of Ghana and the tourist industry, a sound understanding of its habitat and behavior is required. This study examined the habitat and behavior of bushbucks in Mole National Park, Northern Ghana. The study also compared local knowledge to observational data. The site selected for the study was in the Samole area and had Guinea savanna vegetation. Four bushbucks were used as focal animals for the study. One was fitted with a radio ear tag. These animals were followed, and data on their habitat, food and activities were recorded. Bushbucks were found to have a low variability in their diet. Twenty-six food plants were found, with four being widely fed upon. All the food plants, except for two species, were dicotyledons. Bushbucks fed mainly on leaves from upright shoots. Each individual developed its own activity pattern and followed specific paths while foraging. Bushbucks used the open savanna woodland and marshes that provided both food and cover to a greater extent than the riverine forest. A higher preference was shown for marshes. Resting and bedding sites were chosen irrespective of the tree species. Plant species with branches touching the ground, first branches between 27cm and 1m, and crown densities between 20-80% were readily chosen as resting and bedding sites. Bushbucks were active at temperatures below 30°C. When temperature exceeded 31°C, bushbucks retreated to the bushes or thickets to rest and chew the cud. A temperature difference of between 2-5°C occurred in the shade and in the open areas within 1m of the resting and bedding sites.