AIM OF THE STUDY: Marula Estate is a private farm of about 10000 ha located north of Lake Naivasha in Kenya. Most of the land is used for grazing cattle, with the exception of limited areas under cultivation, and this land is very rich in wildlife. One of the Marula’s objectives is conservation and promotion of natural resources. In this perspective, a survey of the prevalence and burden of gastrointestinal (GI) parasites in two different populations of Thomson’s gazelle (Eudorcas thomsoni) were carried out to assess preliminary whether the management of the game is fitting and the distortion level of natural pattern regulation. MATERIALS & METHODS: GI parasite loads of two different populations of Thomson’s gazelle, one natural (NG, sharing a pasture with cattle) and the other managed in a small fence (MG, about 200 ha) with other game and domestic animals, were monitored during three months (February-April 2009). The sampling was performed by observation of each animal until defecation occurred and the position of each faecal sample was recorded. In this way, the faeces of 10 animals were monthly collected and the GI parasites counts were assessed using a modified McMaster method (sensitivity 20). A chi-square and t tests are used to compare prevalence and faecal egg counts. RESULTS: Prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in MG and NG were 100% strongyle, and respectively 76.7 and 49.9% Trichuris sp. (significantly different P>0.05), 3.3 and 6.3 Capillaria sp., and 63.3 and 87.5% coccidian (significantly different P>0.05). Strongyle egg and coccidian oocysts counts in NG were significantly higher than those in MG (994 vs 1690 and 166 vs 2387; P>0.05). No statistically difference for the other nematode. CONCLUSIONS: Thomson’s gazelle is one of the game species which most commonly share grazing with domestic ruminants in Kenya. An integrated analysis of some environmental data and management practices at Marula Reserve will be discussed related to these results, to suggest some strategies for management of animal resources in Marula area.
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