Habitat fragmentation and occurrence of intestinal parasites among the Praomysdelectorum sub-populations in Taita and Kyulu hills, Kenya
Simbauni, Jemimah A.
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Rodents, like other wild animals, are subject to a wide variety of parasitic infestation. Although wild animals are usually infected with several species of parasites, they seldom suffer massive deaths or epizootic. This is due to the normal dispersal and territorialism of most species. Despite the fact that most wild animals tolerate their parasite burdens fairly well, the animals will succumb when crowded and suffering from malnutrition. This study investigated the occurrence and the variety of intestinal parasites among the different sub-populations of Praomys delectorum in Taita and Kyulu Hills. Microscopic studies were conducted on the digesta of the animals. Threedifferent species of intestinal parasites were identified i.e. Hymenolepis sp, Trichostronglus sp and Trichuris sp. All the animal groups were found to have the ova and the adult Hymenolepis sp and only the Kyulu group had Trichuris species ova. The percentage infection varied between 25% and 63.16% across all the sub-populations. The Kyulu sub-population with the leastanthropogenic disturbance or a more stable ecosystem had the highest prevalence of parasites (63.16%). Of the Taita Hills sub-populations, Ngangao, with the least anthropogenic disturbance and lowest population of Praomysdelectorum, had the lowest prevalence of intestinal parasites at 25%. Density of rodent population, habitat type and degree of anthropogenic disturbance are factors that determine the occurrence and prevalence of intestinal parasites in the animal species under study