Human impact on the plains Zebra (Equus quagga) population in Nechisar plains, Nechisar National Park, Ethiopia
International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Department of Biology, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box No. 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Socio-economic and physical surveys were conducted in eight Guji Oromo settlements in Nechisar plains, Nechisar National Park (NNP), southern Ethiopia during November 2001-April 2002 to assess human impact on the population of the plains zebra Equus quagga. Data collected since 1970 were also examined to indicate trends of human, livestock and plains zebra populations in the area. In 1980, the then military government forcefully evicted the local inhabitants. However, they returned to the area during the political change in 1991, which caused widespread destruction of the habitat and the wildlife in the area. The survey confirmed the presence of 250 households in eight settlements in the Nechisar plains, comprising 1640 people and 7080 heads of livestock. Cutting of grass and trees by local people has affected the population of plains zebra by decreasing the effective foraging area and cover. The population of plains zebra has declined since 1991, but there are signs of recovery in recent years. The current population of plains zebra in NNP was estimated to be around 4500. Active measures have to be implemented to control human utilization of Nechisar plains to prevent further deterioration of the habitat and to safeguard the future of plains zebra. © International Scientific Publications, New Delhi.
anthropogenic effect; habitat; mammal; nature-society relations; population ecology; Africa; East Africa; Ethiopia; Sub-Saharan Africa; Equus burchellii; Equus quagga