Benamor N., Bounaceur F., Aulagnier S. 2021. Dietary overlap of wild ungulate Cuvier’s gazelle with livestock (sheep and goats) in Djebel Messaâd Forest, Algeria // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.20. No.1. P.31–43 [in English].
Naceur Benamor [firstname.lastname@example.org], Conservation Biology in Arid and Semi-arid Areas, Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Life, Ibn Khaldoun University, Tiaret, Algeria; Farid Bounaceur [email@example.com], Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Life, Ahmed Ben Yahia Al-Wancharissi University Center, Tissemsilt, Algeria; Stéphane Aulagnier [firstname.lastname@example.org], Behavior and Ecology of Wildlife, National Institute for Agricultural Research, Toulouse University, Castanet-Tolosan cedex, France.
ABSTRACT. Studying the dietary habits of wild animals is essential for the efficient wildlife management. This paper presents the results of dietary overlap of Cuvier's gazelle (Gazella cuvieri) and two species of livestock to evaluate whether or not they compete for forage. The study was conducted from September 2016 to August 2017 in the Djebel Messaâd Forest, Algeria, using microhistological analysis. The diet of Cuvier’s gazelle and livestock maintained a high proportion of grasses, shrubs and trees. At Djebel Messaâd Forest, of the total 48 food plant species identified in fecal samples, 39 of which were found in Cuvier’s gazelle, 29 and 36 from domestic sheep and goats respectively; 20 genera occurred in the annual diets of both Cuvier’s gazelle and livestock. The principal foods were browses (N% = 52.6) for Cuvier’s gazelle, while the dominant forage species included Stipa tenacissima, Artemisia herba alba, Pistacia terebinthus, Stipa parviflora, Helianthemum sp. The food diversity was invariably high for Cuvier’s gazelle in autumn and generally decreased from winter to summer, we conclude that this gazelle exhibited a higher dietary diversity than livestock. Shared species 21 represented a higher proportion of dietary items for Cuvier’s gazelle (N% = 76.9) than for sheep (N% = 54.0). While shared 28 species, a very higher proportion of those used by Cuvier’s gazelle (N% = 91.4) than by goats (N% = 61.2). Dietary overlap indices confirmed that, livestock had very similar diets. while, both of them had moderate diet overlap with Cuvier’s gazelle.
KEY WORDS: Diet overlap, Gazella cuvieri, livestock, faecal analysis, feeding ecology.