Behavioural Patterns and Responses to Human Disturbances of Wild Somali Ostriches (Struthio molybdophanes) in Samburu, Kenya.
Mutiga, Mariciano Iguna
Muoria, Paul Kimata
Karuri, Hannah W.
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Somali ostrich has suffered a drastic decline in its population and range mainly due to hunting over the years for meat, skin and feathers. Urgent conservation measures should therefore be taken to reverse this trend particularly in their current population stronghold, the Samburu landscape. In this range, the magnitude and consequences of human disturbance on the ostrich has not been established. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the behavioural patterns and assess the impacts of human disturbance to the bird. Focal animal sampling was used to establish ostrich‟s behavioural activity budget while the magnitude of human disturbance was assessed by determining and comparing flight initiation distances in the protected and partially protected areas. Somali ostrich spent most of their diurnal time in feeding and moving, and are more sensitive to human disturbance in the protected areas than they are in the partially protected areas. The results of this study imply that the ratite does not differ in behavioural patterns from other extant ostrich species and human disturbance is not posing a significant threat to its survival within Samburu landscape. Further studies are recommended for better understanding of the conservation status of the newly published species.