2002) In contrast, short grasses

2002). In contrast, short grasses selleck kinase inhibitor maintained by heavy livestock

grazing, such as those in the pastoral areas of the Mara in the wet season (Ogutu et al. 2005), have higher digestibility and nutritional quality. Heavy livestock grazing on the ranches, furthermore, tends to promote production of more net grass biomass, which in turn attracts more herbivores than in the reserve with no livestock. Consequently, sustained livestock grazing in the ranches, by keeping grass stem biomass low, renders grasses more digestible and enhances their nutritional quality (McNaughton 1976). This enables herbivores to realize greater protein consumption on the ranches than selleck products they do in the reserve in the wet season. As well, Adriamycin price nutrient-rich pastoral settlement (boma) sites

in the ranches represent key sources of nutritionally sufficient forage, especially for lactating females in the wet season (Muchiru et al. 2008; Augustine et al. 2010). In addition, during the wet season, it is likely that lions are more abundant in the reserve (Reid et al. 2003), with taller grass cover, than in the ranches (Ogutu et al. 2005). Predator densities are also higher in the reserve than in the ranches in the dry season (Reid et al. 2003), reflecting not only their preference for high grass cover, but also avoidance of human and livestock activities on the ranches (Ogutu et al. 2005). Since predation risk increases with grass height in the Serengeti (Hopcraft et al. 2005) and Mara Region (Kanga et al. 2011) and since grass

cover is shorter and predator density is lower on the ranches than in the reserve, small and medium herbivores likely experience lower predation risk on the ranches than in the reserve (Sinclair why et al. 2003). In the dry season, when surface water and forage availability are reduced, heavy livestock grazing in the pastoral ranches forces wildlife to disperse to the reserve, where the migratory wildebeest and zebra and fires have removed the taller grasses and improved visibility. Thus, heavy livestock grazing in the pastoral ranches facilitates small and medium-sized herbivores in the wet season, but competition with livestock in the dry season for food and water, pushes them into the reserve where they are facilitated by migratory herds, which also absorb most of the predation pressure (Ogutu et al. 2008). Accordingly, we formulated the following four initial expectations based on herbivore body size. (1) The densities of the small-sized herbivores (15–50 kg), would be higher in the Koyiaki pastoral ranch in both seasons due to the higher prevalence of short grass that is safer year round.

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