Habitat use and feeding ecology of the roan antelope at Weenen Nature Reserve.
The roan antelope Hippotragus equinus equinus, is listed as endangered in the South African Red Data Book. A herd of nine roan were introduced to Weenen Nature Reserve (WNR) in 1988. The herd has since increased to sixteen animals. The aim of the study was to determine those habitat characteristics which influenced the preference or avoidance of the habitat types available at WNR. The extent to which the antelope's occurrence was correlated with certain habitat elements was determined. The roan preferred open woodland on gently undulating terrain. Themeda triandra was found to be the most common grass species in the diet of the roan. Cauline grass species such as Hyparrhenia spp. were avoided in the dry season. Dicots assumed greater importance in the diet in the dry season. Several management practices employed at the reserve were assessed to determine their influence on habitat use by the roan. These practices were not found to be incompatible with the goal of conserving roan antelope in the reserve.