The ecology and conservation of blue duiker and red duiker in Natal.
The ecology of blue duikers Philantomba monticola and red duikers Cephalophus natalensis was studied in three lowland coastal evergreen forests in Natal. Variation in population densities, estimated with numerous census techniques and between and within study areas permitted comparisons of habitat parameters. Both species are strictly diurnal, and are active between 18 and 40% of the nycthemeral cycle. Usually a pair of blue duikers occupy a permanent territory of about 0,7ha while red duiker home ranges, between 2 and 15ha, overlap extensively with each other and those of blue duikers. Habitat quality of both species is determined by canopy cover (stem densities, spatial patterning, and, diversity of the tree and shrub layers), tree to shrub ratios, and, bedsites. The main dietary item, freshly fallen leaves, is not that of a highconcentrate feeder as hypothesised. Food appears to be abundant while condensed tannins have no influence on duiker densities. Management recommendations include land acquisition, forest ecology research, monitoring interaction with other species, genetic aspects, translocations and captive propagation.