Jan A. Venter, Margaret J. Kalule-Sabiti
African Journal of Wildlife Research 46 (1), 49-56, (1 April 2016) https://doi.org/10.3957/056.046.0049
KEYWORDS: diet composition, large herbivores, Mkambati Nature Reserve, Pondoland, stable carbon isotopes
We used stable carbon isotopes from faeces to investigate the proportional contribution of C3 and C4 plant forms to the diet of the herbivores in Mkambati Nature Reserve, a grassland dominated ecosystem on the east coast of South Africa. Our results indicate that Equus burchellii, Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi, and Alcelaphus buselaphus utilize mainly C4 grasses. Tragelaphus oryx, Potamochoerus larvatus, Tragelaphus scriptus and Antidorcas marsupialis utilized mainly C3 plant forms but Redunca arundinum utilized an approximately equal amount of C3 and C4 plants. The results indicated similar trends compared to the more arid savanna systems (i.e. Kruger National Park in South Africa and several national parks in Kenya) with a few notable differences in some species (i.e. red hartebeest, southern reedbuck, eland, bushbuck and bushpig).