Rumen contents from four blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) and six black
wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) were collected from two locations during two winter
culling seasons. A total of 16 species of protozoa were found in blue wildebeest with
Dasytricha ruminantium, Opisthotrichum janus and Ostracodinium gracile occurring in all
four animals. In black wildebeest, 23 species of protozoa were observed with only
Diplodinium bubalidis f. bubalidis and Ostracodinium damaliscus being present in all
animals. In the blue wildebeest, the total number of species in an individual animal varied
from 9 – 11 and in the black wildebeest, the number ranged from 4 – 14 species per animal.
Concentrations of cells per ml ranged from 1110 to 5880 in the blue wildebeest and 3120 to
6240 in the black wildebeest. This study is the first report on protozoa species in the blue and
black wildebeest. A new species of Entodinium is described, Entodinium taurinus n. sp.,
observed in the rumen contents of three blue wildebeest. Several physical parameters of the digestive tract were also measured, including distribution, pH, temperature and density of
gastrointestinal contents in different sections of the total tract. In vitro gas production was
estimated for rumen, cecum and colon contents.