Roan Antelope Botswana

Roan Antelope Research Project

Two new MSc research projects have started in the Linyanti – collaborations between University of Pretoria and University of Botswana. The one project being conducted by CJ Havemann is titled: Home Range and Habitat Utilization of Roan Antelope, Hippotragus equines, in Northern Botswana. This project is supported by Wilderness Safaris Trust and Comanis Foundation.

Despite the onset of the rainy season with low visibility and dense green mopane, in December 2010 the team was trying to locate 3 herds of Roan to put one GPS collar on an adult female in each herd. The darting was off to a good start on the first day when the vet arrived as a leopard had killed a young Roan and the mother and a male were hanging around in the area. So the study started with a bang and the first recorded predation on a Roan calf.

The vet, Dane Hawk darted the female and fitted the GPS collar and she was revived and wandered off with the male again looking quite unperturbed with her new collar that is going to shed a lot of new light on what resources this species relies on for survival across the different seasons. These GPS collars take readings every hour and store the information to be downloaded whenever you come within sight of the collar, the information can also be downloaded off the collar from the air in a light aircraft

Short summary of current report from CJ Havemann:

Up until now the roan appear to enjoy the Kalahari Apple‐Leaf area’s that are fringed with Mopane. They also move constantly from one patch to another. Due to their constant moving getting accurate feeding data can be quite a challenge but we have seen that they prefer Panicum maximum (Guinae grass) and Digitaria eriantha (Common finger grass). The female’s movement patterns indicate that she covers quite a large area (+‐ 38km2), most of which have no roads.

Colaring the first female Roan Antelopes
Photo C.Itten

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