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Wildlife Ecology and Management

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CourseCode FWM 306Course Title Wildlife Ecology and ManagementUnits 3 UnitsDuration 5 hours a weekCoordinator Dr. O.AJayeolaAddress Room E 204 COLERM BuildingCourseContentOrganisation of Wildlife resources. Wildlife in relation to environment. Factors affecting distribution and abundance of wildlife. Wildlife population characteristics: mortality, movement, life cycles, food and food habit, wildlife capture techniques, handling, feeding and care of captured animals
Wildlife Management deals with manipulation of flora, soil and hydrological resources for sustainability of undomesticated fauna resources for the benefits of mankind.Preservationcan be described as ways of keeping away the fauna and flora resources from harm perpetually.Conservation could be defined as the achievement of the highest sustainable quality of living for mankind by the rational utilization of the fauna and flora resources.National parks are area of land set aside for the protection and preservation of wildlife and their natural habitats.Game reserve is an area set aside for the conservation of Wildlife.In Nigeria today, there are eight National park and many game reserves that focuses on managing both fauna and flora resources and their natural habitats.The National parks is been controlled by the Federal Government of Nigerian and Game reserve is controlled by State Government.Nigeria National parks are:Kainjilake,OldOyo,Yankari(reverse back to game reserve status in 2006),Okomu,ChadBasin,CrossRiver,GhasakaGumtiNational park
Preservation of wildlife speciesTo encourage and promote Wildlife conservation for education and researchMaintenance of population of useful speciesTo promote ecological diversity and stability through preservation of gene pool and maintenance of continuity in gene poolProtection of fauna and flora resources from over exploitation.Research and education:Medicine and other economic product:Conservation for tourism and national development:Tourism in conservation area create job:-Shooting of documentary film on wild animal:Products of wild animal:-Aerial purification:- supply of cellulose
Nigeria wildlife species are not as much in terms of their populationcompare to what is obtainable in south and east Africa respectively.The population of Nigeria wildlife is still evolving and growing hence cannot be managed or provide same benefit like those of other nations of Africa.Despite the aforementioned, the diversity of Nigeria wildlife has been ranked eleven in Africa by NEST, 1991.Information on current status of wildlife globally is available red listCategories of conservation or protected area are as follows:National park; Wildlife sanctuary, Biosphere reserve; Game reserve; National Landmark/monument; etc.
Scientific researchEducationRecreation and tourismEconomically Wildlife protection provide means of sustenance to traders in hides, skin, meat, trophies and other artisans.Wildlife provide meat for the populaceGame hunting is a sort of sport in areasBirdwatchingand Game Viewing is a hobby to many people.Several parts of birds and big ungulates serve as trophies.Wildlife and their environment are important materials for education and research.Researches are easily conducted and result of some finding can easily be tested on the wild animal.Protecting wild animal afford man the opportunity of learning from them and use them to his own advantage..Behavioursof some birds (e.g.pidgeon) allows them to be used as a means of disseminating information.Some animal can keep vigil and serve as watchdog.Portion of some wild animal are being used separately or together with other floral species in traditional medicine.
Protection of wildlife ensures sustainability of supply of all the benefitderivable from wildlife itself.Survival of greater number of species can be ensured as a result of protection.Endangered, threatened and near extinct species can be revived and theprocess reversed either through in-situ or ex-situ method of protection.In-situ mean on-site protection mechanisms where the animal is allowed tolive and survived in its own home with minimum interference if there is any.Ex-situ protection may be by means of cold storage of semen and eggs forartificial insemination.Ecological and life processes will not be altered or disturbed rather it will beMaintained and sustained through wildlife protection activity.
Wildlife productivity
Factors affecting productivity of wild animal are as follows;Sex ratioGestation periodLitter sizeClimateParental careDisease, poaching, etc.
Wildlife Population Census/Inventory
All methods of estimating wild animals have basic assumptions which are:Mortality and recruitment during the period when data are collected are negligible or if not are corrected in the estimates.All members of the population have an equal or known probability of being counted.Two basic method of carrying out inventory or census of wild animal is by Direct and indirect assessment.Population are not stagnant but dynamics and are affected by the following:Density dependent factors such as competition (either intra or inter competition for food, space, cover, water, etc), Diseases and parasites, habitat degradation such as over – grazing, excessive defoliation, soil trampling, predation level, starvation, stress.Density independent factors those include, weather condition, i.e. (rainfall pattern, temperature), sex ratio, gestation period, puberty age, natural death, litter size.Others are natural catastrophes like flood or excessive draught, Accidents, Poaching, Fire, Volcanic eruptions.
CAUSES OF FOOD DEPLETION:Food is one of the most important requirements of a habitat, without food animals cannot survive, however a lot of factors affect sources of food in a habitat these include:Habitat destruction: Such as uncontrolled burning, over grazing, soil erosionUncontrolled Burning: Burning of vegetation indiscriminately usually resulted to destruction of flora resources and prevent wildlife the opportunity of long dry season grazing, moreover, un-prescribed burning reduces availability of vegetation for cover, reduction in growth rate andvigourof grasses, shrubs and trees and finally leads to food and habitat degradation.Over grazing: In a rangeland where rotational grazing is not practiced, grazing of such rangeland by animals usually resulted to over-grazing thereby limiting the source of food supply to the grazing animals. overgrazing of pasture and leads to erosions of various types and the entire rangeland may be lost totally to erosion if care is not taken early enough to control such erosion.Climatic Factors: Such as rainfall, temperaturee.t.c. can determine the amount of vegetation in a particular rangeland a decrease in annual rainfall and abnormal increase in annual temperature can contribute to low biomass and can limit the source of forage for grazers.Invasion of rangeland by weeds usually leads to elimination of palatable forage species while the weeds established themselves, weeds when allow to grow on pasture land limit food source of herbivorous animals.
BASIC PRINCIPLES IN PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING HABITAT IMPROVEMENT AND MANIPULATION PRACTICES:Justification of the manipulationEvaluation of proposed manipulation effect on other natural resources.Manipulation must be economically feasible.Improvements must simulate perpetuation of flora and fauna resources.Manipulation must be designed to follow natural topographical features e.g. rocks, valleys, rivers,e.t.c.Projects manipulation must be evaluated at intervals to determine if the objectives have been achieved.
IMPORTANCE OF RANGELAND TO WILDLIFERangelands are those areas of the world, which by reason of physical limitations such as low and erratic rainfall, tough topography, poor drainage, or cold temperature are unsuitable to cultivation and which are a source of forage for free – ranging native and domestic animals as well as a source of wood products, water and wildlife.Rangelands generally are very important to wild animal population because it supports their population in the following ways.Range lands usually provides all year round grazing opportunity to wildlife population both in the dry and wet season. Because of adequate sources of food provided by the rangelands, wild animals are able to convert plant tissues to animal protein so fast resulting to proper development within the animal population.Rangeland provides sources of cover to wildlife population most especially during the hot afternoon when animals need to hibernate and rest for proper regurgitation of their feed intake, proper digestion and assimilation for proper development of the body tissue.Rangelands also provide a good breeding place or ground for the wildlife population, this helps to hide the less defensive young ones away from the angry predators like lion, hyena, cheetah etc. therefore, rangelands have help the wild animals to successfully increase their population by reducing mortality or death rate.Well managed rangelands usually serve as water catchments area for the rangelands thereby providing water throughout the year for the existing wildlife population.Due to the nature of rangelands that are characterized with poor topography and large place of land it also provide the wildlife population with the advantages of moving about freely to exercise their body thereby reducing fatigue.
FIRE ECOLOGYRange ecologist often consider both burning and respect to fire causes, control, regime, effect on natural resources and the control of fire.CausesIn savanna, fire is caused by natural phenomenon such as lightening, volcanic eruption etc and by man.There are many reasons for burning bushes. Smoke is used to drive away bees for honey collections.Fire is used in land preparation for cultivation settlement and urbanizationprogramme.Fire is used to flush or drive out animals during hunting.Cattlerearersuse fire to keep away or destroy vectors e.g. tsetse fly from livestock.Bush burning is used in range land management practices. There are about five areas where fire is used in range management.a. To remove old, coarse, unpalatable vegetation in order to stimulate new grass flushb. It is used to improve visibility during game viewing.c. To control, bush and encroachment of range land by woody plant spp.d. Bush burning destroy vectors and other disease parasite.6. Burning is used for revenge, however there is great controversy among ecologist whether or not fire should be allowed as management tools.Few controversiesSome ecologist especially the forest biologists are of the view that there should be no bush burning, while grazing reserve and range managersfavourscontrolled bush burning, but they have controversy of when and how to burn for example.1. It is not yet certain whether to burn or not2. Is it to burn early or late in dry season.3. Is it to burn annually or at what interval.4. To burn every other year.
Ecological factors
FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT CARRYING CAPACITY OF A HABITATPopulation – Litter size, puberty age, gestation period.Climate – Rainfall, TemperatureSoil – nutrient capacityFlora and fauna management and conservationAmount of food and water.Amount of cover and shelter for roosting and sleeping.Diseases and parasites.
ECOLOGICAL SUCCESSIONCommunities are not static but are continually changing, a process called ecologic succession. Succession is the change in biotic andaboticcomposition of a site over a period of years as site would have a series of communities, each succeeding, and being succeeded by, other communities as the site ages. Succession begins on a site following a geologic or other disturbances (for example, recession of a glacier, erosion, fire, flood, logging or abandonment of cultivated ground). Perhaps abandoned cropland is the most familiar example of succession
Animal capture and transport.
GENERAL CONDITIONS OF ANIMAL IN TRANSITAnimal should be enclosed in container which are roomy and comfortable and if the animal are to travel by sea, the container must be larger and stronger than that used for air transport.Containers shall be strong; all nails and screw counter sank.Comteneurswhich will stand on deck shall be provided with feet orbaffersto swallow a space of at least 10cm between the bottom of the container and the deck.Provision must be made in containers for inserting food and water and removing excrement, without undue disturbance to the animal.Provision must be made for animal to see outside but there must be curtain which can be drawn to give this animal privacy when necessary.Roof of containers that are not sheltering shall be made water proof.all containers shall be adequately ventilated and protected from extreme of temperature.Containers for birds which do not require padding under the roof shall be ventilated as the top and on one side.Perching birds shall be provided with suitable perches.
REASON/BENEFITS OF ACTSSo many reasons can be adduced to the need for capturing Wild animals. Below are some of theinexhaustivereasons.It allows Wildlife biologists to be able to treat and take care of sick and diseased animals easily.Capturing is done whenever a particular species of animal are to be leased or exchanged with another park or Zoological garden.Capturing is done during research and field investigation into biological, sex differentiation, socialbehaviour,PhenoandGenocharacterization of the animal.Marauding or dangerous animal can be captured for rehabilitation or culling.Endangered species can be captured for ex-situ breeding exercise and be prevented from extinction.Capturing, tagging/marking and release are done mostly during animal census/population estimate.Demonstration for conservation education at times can involve capturing exercise.
Treatment of captured animal
STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE CAPTURINGThe following steps and decision(s) need to be made before and during the planning processes for animal capturing exercise.Decide on the species, age, sex and the quantity of the animal to be captured.Decide on the method of capturing to be adopted. This is mostly based on the species of the animal to be captured available facility and the number of personnel available.Organize a small pre-capturing in-house training for the teamPrepare and service the equipment and materials to be used, if necessary before going to the field for capturing.Prepare and get the transit cage readyMake adequate arrangement for transportation and welfare of the capturing group while in the field.Make adequate preparation for acclimatization of the captured animal if eventually the exercise is fruitful.Also prepare a very good place with sufficient facility for the animal to live in after acclimatization. This kind of house should be built having the objective of capturing the said animal.Finally plan for the release/Reintroduction or proper domestication of the captured animal.CAUTIONAlways go to the armed with firearms and ammunitions for self-defense.Don’t trouble the captured animal so much that they must have been half been half dead before capturing. Such animal stands a very slim chance to survive in captivity.Be friendly to your captives, they need to be cared for.CAPTURING TECHJIQUESAnimals capturing techniques can be broadly categorized into three (3) divisions.The use of chemical to immobilize an animal (use of injected drugs).The use of different form of Traps.Application of different capturing method using skills and various equipments.
CARE AND TREATMENT OF DRUGGED ANIMALSProper care of drugged animal is extremely important because it can prevent injuries and reduce losses. Handling procedures differs, it depend on the drug compoundusedtoimmobilize the animal. The basic steps in handling animals are as follows.Check vital signs such as respiration and heart beat rate and treat accordingly.Attach blindfold to protect eyes and calm the animal.Place the animal in comfortable position, mostly on brisket, a few on their sides.Control head and neck, keep it elevated, but allow for drainage of saliva and stomach fluids.Maintain a clear breathing passage.Keep noise and movements around the animal to a minimum.Control leg thrashing or convulsion; the animal may be need additional sedation or restraining device.Clean and treat dart wounds with antibiotic and fly repellant if necessary.Administer pain reliever, other analgesic andcumtibioticdrugs to combat infections.Protect the animal from predators and adverse weather conditions during recovery.Allow the animal to recover quickly and undisturbed.Release fully recovered animal with as little disturbance as possible.





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Wildlife Ecology and Management