Food habits of ungulates in dry tropical forests of Gir Lion Sanctuary, Guarajat, India
Food habits of chital Axis axis (Exrleben, 1777), sambar Ceruus unicolor (Kerr, 1792) and nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus (Pallas, 1776) of Gir Lion Sanctuary were studied from January 1987 to December 1988. Data were collected on feeding animals by direct observations using scan and focai animal sampling methods. Results suggest that all three species are mixed feeders to varying degree and grass to browse ratio varied significantly in different seasons. Chitai utilised 38 species of shrubs, ten species of grasses and two species of climbers whereas sambar and nilgai utilised 29 and 19 species of shrubs, respectively. As a result of drought in 1987, chital utilised far greater proportion of browse (leaves and shoots) during 1988 compared to 1987, sambar diet mainly comprised of bark material of six plant species during winter and summer of 1988. All three species utilised different species of Acacia and Zizyphus in Gir but their utilisation differed significantly between different species thereby facilitating their co-existence.
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