Graze herbivores on pasture, instead of sustaining with artificial foods
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
In highly managed populations of wild mammalian herbivores, locations of enclosures or other constraining features can determine what food is available for animals. Some populations may be maintained on food imported from elsewhere. However, making pasture available might provide a higher quality diet than can be offered with imported food and this might have positive effects on the population.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A site comparison study in 1995 of five conservation areas on a range of veld habitats in South Africa (Dörgeloh et al. 1996) found that in a population of roan antelope Hippotragus equinus equinus grazed on pasture, the population growth rate was higher than in populations provided solely with imported feed. The rate of increase of the pasture-fed population was higher than that of four other populations that were not pasture-fed (data presented as mean exponential rates). Population sex ratios, calving rates, population sizes and densities were not correlated with rates of population increase. Five conservation areas (each <3,000 ha) were studied. Population data were obtained in winter 1995. At one site, antelopes were grazed on pasture and, in the dry season, fed ≥0.5 kg of supplementary food/day (lucerne, antelope cubes and mineral lick). At the other four sites, antelopes solely received the supplementary feed, in varying proportions.Study and other actions tested