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Effects of agricultural practices on the distribution of western hartebeest (alcelaphus buselaphus) in old oyo national park, Nigeria

Author: 
Akinyemi, A. F. and Kayode, I. B.
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

This study is aimed at investigating the effects of the agricultural practices of the rural people bordering the Old Oyo National Park on the distribution of Western Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) within the park. The study area was carried out in Marguba, Sepeteri and Yemoso ranges out of the five ranges of the park. Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methods and structured questionnaires were used to collect information on the issues about their agricultural activities within and around the park. Animal census was carried out using line transect method to determine the distribution pattern of Western Hartebeest in Sites ‘A’ and ‘B’ within the park. Site ‘A’ represents the core zones of the park without human activities, while site ‘B’ represent areas of the park with human and agricultural activities. Chi-square tests, T distribution paired test, ANOVA and percentages were used as statistical tools to analyse the data collected. Thirty five percent of the farmers have their farms around the park boundary, 30% close to the park boundary, 20% were located inside the park while only 15% were far from the park. The systems of land preparation for planting employed are fire (32.5%), human labour (40%) and tractor (27.5%). Fire is used by the respondents for hunting (25%), clearing farmland (40%), gathering honey (20%) and regeneration of fresh grasses (15%). Therefore, there is no significant difference (P >0.05) in the purposes of using fire by the respondents. The mean population relative density of Western Hartebeest is 0.07group per kilometer. Site ‘A’ and ‘B’ have population density of 0.08 and 0.06 respectively. The mean solitary individuals at both sites are the same, which is 0.05. The T distribution paired test showed significant difference (P<0.025) in the distribution of Western Hartebeest in both sites. It is recommended that since majority of the rural dwellers are illiterates, conservation education in term of extension service should be carried to them and modern techniques of agriculture such as planting of hybrids with high yield quality, pest and disease resistance should be introduced to the farmers in the support zone of the park to prevent farmers from encroaching into the park in search of fertile land.

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