Puku antelopes in Luambe NP, Zambia
This study is the first to estimate the population size and density of puku in the western part of Luambe National Park, eastern Zambia. The population was estimated to be 2,081 ± 501. The study area was the western part of Luambe N.P. near the Luangwa River, where puku densities increased with the progression of the dry season. Pukus were unevenly distributed and more abundant in grasslands where they reached local densities of up to 54.78 animals/km². The sex ratio was biased towards females, which was even more pronounced in woodland areas and along the only transect line situated just outside the National Park. Most frequently observed were single individuals, as well as female groups eventually accompanied by a male. Group sizes up to 15 animals were most common. Especially striking was the co-occurrence of puku and impala (Aepyceros melampus) which were generally equally abundant in the study area. Impala reached higher densities in woodlands while puku were more abundant in grasslands. Surveys like this provide basic data and play a fundamental role in our understanding of the ecosystem and for improving conservation measures.