oa African Journal of Wildlife Research - Fluctuations in bush and rock hyrax (Hyracoidea: Procaviidae) abundances over a 13-year period in the Matopos, Zimbabwe

Volume 45, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2410-7220
  • E-ISSN: 2410-8200



Bush () and rock () hyraxes (Hyracoidea: Procaviidae) are abundant small mammals and important prey for vertebrate carnivores in the Rhodes Matopos National Park (RMNP), southwestern Zimbabwe. We monitored hyraxes at 20 observation stations in the 424 km2 RMNP over a 13-year period (1993-2005). We identified hyraxes to species, and counted and aged them. From yearly counts and age distributions, we computed an index of relative abundance (AI - individuals/km2) and estimate of productivity (proportion of the sample comprising juveniles) for each species. Time series analysis showed that annual fluctuations in AI were marked, but not cyclic, with ranges of 0.4-113.8% (median = 30.0%) for and 3.7-64.7% (median = 11.0%) for . Cross-correlation function revealed interspecific synchrony in annual fluctuation in numbers of individuals of the two species. A positive relationship existed between AI of and rainfall of the previous austral summer, suggesting that annual precipitation contributes to fluctuations in abundance of this species; synchronous fluctuation of the two species suggests a common response to other regulating factors. Additional abiotic and biotic processes that potentially affected populations of both species are chronicled.

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