Wildlife water utilization and importance of artificial waterholes during dry season at Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Abstract

Provision of water to wildlife is crucial during dry season along the Great Ruaha River (GRR) in Ruaha National Park due to mismanagement of water resources upstream. This paper shows that wildlife in the dry areas of the park utilizes effectively the water from natural and artificial waterholes dug in the sandy riverbed of the GRR. Artificial water holes help alleviate the effects of artificial water shortage in the river, and because the location of the artificial water holes varies annually, the impact on the vegetation of aggregating herbivores around water holes was minimized. Water quality was comparable in natural and artificial water holes, and was the highest in holes dug by elephants in the sandy river bed.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Director General of Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) for supporting the study, Ruaha National Park (RNP) Authority for facilitating logistics of the study and the Park staff for participating in the study, and Dr. E. Wolanski for his advice.

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Correspondence to A. M. Epaphras.

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Epaphras, A.M., Gereta, E., Lejora, I.A. et al. Wildlife water utilization and importance of artificial waterholes during dry season at Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Wetlands Ecol Manage 16, 183–188 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-007-9065-3

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Keywords

  • Artificial waterhole
  • Wildlife water use
  • Waterhole significance
  • Water availability
  • Environmental degradation