Dama gazelles (Nanger dama Pallas, 1766) are critically endangered within their native habitat of northern Africa's Sahelo-Saharan Zone. However, several Texas ranches maintain populations that provide a hedge against extinction and that can provide suitable stock for conservation projects, including reintroduction. For these initiatives, there is a critical need for information on spatial requirements of male dama gazelles. This is especially the case, because population increase is hindered by aggressive behaviour of males kept within limited areas. Adult males kill other males. We report on the spatial distribution and interaction potential (interanimal distances) of male eastern dama gazelles (N. dama ruficollis) from a population living on 8 996 ha of fenced rangeland in West Texas, USA. We fitted five males with GPS-radio collars and tracked their positions every 3 h for one year. Adult males (n = 3) maintained annual 95% Kernel Home Ranges (KHR) averaging 1 783 ha with 50% core areas averaging 440 ha. Average distance between adults with adjacent home ranges was 2.8 to 4.6 km, with only four contacts within 20 m recorded. Subadult males (n = 2) had more diffuse home ranges and a common core area. They only associated in a loose bachelor group for part of the time. Their space use can overlap with that of adult males. When spatial requirements are met, problems caused by aggression can be minimised. Small sample size prevents definite recommendations, but results point to productive avenues for additional study to enhance management of other ex situ populations.
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Vol. 56 • No. 2