The range use behaviour and activity patterns of a single herd of disease-free Cape buffalo Syncerus caffer in the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, Free State, was investigated. This reserve falls outside the historical distribution of these buffalo. It has sub-optimal habitat for buffalo, a long history of severe overgrazing and no large predators. The veld condition and grazing capacity of six management units identified in the reserve were investigated, and a long-term grazing capacity of 750 L.S.U. calculated. A maximum long-term buffalo stocking rate of 82,2 L.S.u. was determined from their range use. The main factors, which appear to regulate habitat selection by the buffalo, are seasonal changes in the food supply, the availability of cover for daytime resting, and protection against low night temperatures. Effective management of the buffalo depends on protecting the woody riverbank and vlei grasslands, which are the most crucial vegetation types for the buffalo.
Dissertation (MSc (Wildlife Management))--University of Pretoria, 2006.