Assessment of the potential for sport hunting of gamebirds with special emphasis on Guineaaflowls in Laikipia district , Kenya
Adhola, Enock Titus
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This study sought to investigate potential for rural communities, in arid and semi-arid areas to derive economic benefit from hunting of gamebirds, specificalIy the guineafowls. In order to achieve this, it is important to have knowledge on guineafowl ecology and population dynamics; particularly how environmental conditions which N,pry in space and over time, influence their population dynamics. The study focussed oii two sympatric species of guineafowl in Laikipia district, Kenya. They include; the Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris, which is common in the moister parts of southern Laikipia, and Vulturine Guineafowl Acryllium vulturinum, which is more common in the drier northern reaches of the district. Their population dynamics, habitat preferences and breeding seasonality were compared in order to develop methods for monitoring their populations that are suitable for game bird management purposes. The study area comprised six sites arranged along a rainfall gradient in Laikipia district. Distance sampling technique was used to derive game bird densities within the study area both spatially and temporally. Game bird data was collected during five sample sessions conaducted between September 2005 and April 2007 at each study site. Systat 9.0 statistical package was used to perform statistical analyses to test for relationships between guineafowl densities and factor perceived to limit their populations. Habitat was found to have a significant influence on guineafowl population dynamics. From the multi-wave length data from Landsat ima(,Cry employed in this study, distributions of guineafowls across various habitats within Laikipia will be predictable. Both guineafowl species were observed to breed at least once every year after the long rains season. The birds were also observed to suspend breeding and thereby recruitment during periods marked by drought conditions. There was variation in recruitment rates, spatially and temporally within and between the study sites. The study Concludes by recommending harvesting quotas for gamebirds occurring in Laikipia District.