Last update: November 24, 2010 02:26:39 PM E-mail Print

 

MINERAL STATUS OF SPRINGBOK (ANT/DORCAS MARSUPIALlS)

IN DIFFERENT AREAS OF SOUTH AFRICA

 

J H Hoon

Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute, P/Bag X529, Middelburg E.C., 5900

email : Jan Hoon

 


Game usually obtains the necessary minerals from food and water, and some deficiencies are supplemented by their habit of licking soil that is high in minerals. In 1998, the Mier community in die north western part of the Northern Cape Province (adjacent to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Namibian border) asked for an  investigation into the mineral status of the game in their area. This request was made after observations and reports by visiting hunters and researchers that indicated possible mineral deficiencies. It

was decided to use the springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) as the research subject because of its widespread distribution that allows for the collection of comparable samples in other areas of South Africa. The objective of this study was therefore to determine the mineral status of springbok in the Mier area and compare it with the status of animals from other areas. Blood, bone and liver samples from springbok were collected during the hunting season (June-August 1998) in the Mier area, as well as at Carnarvon, Somerset-East and the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve. These samples were analyzed for all the major minerals and trace elements. Very little data on the mineral levels of tissue samples obtained from springbok are available, which makes it difficult to determine whether a certain value is low, normal or high. Compared to values available for sheep and cattle, it seems if most of the values obtained from springbok in the different areas correspond well with the normal (sufficient) values that are used for these animals. The levels for bone Ca (33.97-41.57%), P (15.45-17.84%) and Mg (0.73-1.88%), serum Ca (2.30-2.64 mmol/l) PO4 (2.49-3.69 mmol/l) Mg (0.97-1.24 mmol/l), Na (137-149 mmol/l), Cu (0.64-1.00 ug/ml) and Zn (1.36-1.84 ug/ml), as well as liver Cu (73-149 ppm), Zn (84-1.84 ppm), Fe (265-360 ppm), Mn (4.98-8.72 ppm) and Mo (0.76-2.76 ppm), can be described as normal (sufficient) by using the values available for sheep and cattle. Serum K levels (8.06-10.66 mmol/l) appeared to be very high in all the areas, which can possibly be attributed to the hunting process when samples were taken, as serum K levels is known to increase during the shock phase of stress. Liver Se levels (0.46-2.83 ppm) appeared to reach high to toxic values at some of the localities (2.83 ppm - Somerset East). Although some of the mineral and trace element values obtained from springbok in the Mier area are lower than that in the other areas, none of these values seems to be marginal or at a shortage when compared to the values available for sheep and cattle. Further investigations are, however, necessary and more samples need to be collected from different areas in order to determine reliable mineral levels for springbok.