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Animals: KUDU

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Kudu-Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Habitat requirements    
Kudu prefer savanna with enough trees or scrub, especially close to rocky areas, mountains and long rivers.
Food preference    

Kudu are predomimently browsers, but include approximately 10 percent grass in their diet, Fresh green grass is preferred. A wide range of leaves, herbs, vines, flowers, fruit and succulents are eaten. Kudu will browse on a variety of poisonous plants that are avoided by other browsers. Acacia tortillis, Combretum hereroense, Combretum apiculatum and Dichrostachys cinerea are considered as major browse species.

Water requirements    
Kudu are dependant on water and need a permanent source of surface water within their range. Approximatly 9 litres of water is utilised per day.
Minimum viable group size    
Sex ratio    
One male for every three females
Herd population growth per annum    
20 percent
Life span    

14 years

Kudo are sensitive to cold and severe mortalities can occur during excesseve cold spells, especially late in the winter and early in the spring when the difference between the maximum and minimum temperature is less than 15°C. The leaves of most woody plants produce defensive chemicals, such as tannins, when the tree of shrub is browsed. These tannins bind to proteins and reduce the digestibility of browse, thus limiting the amount of protein available. Studies have shown that the protein intake of kudu remains well above the level required for maintenance throughout the year, whereas the estimated intake of metabolizable energy drops below the maintenence requirements in the late dry season. It therfore seems that when the low energy intake during times of food scarcity coincides with periods of extreme cold, it causes stress, pneumonia snd death in kudu.